¡Bong! [In place of Mr Bong’s usual reflections on disruption and innovation, we have instead received this from Bong Ventures LLC legal affairs team – Ed.]
From: Steven P Bong, Founder and Chief Disruption Officer.
1. Inaccurate Reporting
I am dismayed by reports originating in the foreign press purporting to “expose” the “workplace culture” at Bong Ventures and the many startups the company incubates.
You may by now be wearily familiar with phrases such as “humiliation”, “crying at my desk”, “unreasonable requests from the CEO", “Bolivian Marching Powder” and "increase the voltage". These are travesties of reporting.
I simply cannot reconcile the gruesome descriptions of cult-like psychological terror described in these reports with the Bong Ventures LLC that I founded, and that I know and love; where employees have a song in their hearts and dilated pupils – dilated with love for their work.
It is certainly true that I have sought to create a hard-driving and competitive corporate culture. Such a culture is needed to please the customer, whose needs are paramount in all our work, and to avoid complacency. It is the “Bong way” to drive our staff out of the comfort zone, and park them right in the “discomfort zone”.
However, many of the cases cited are misunderstood.
To the young entrepreneurs who claim the CEO bombarded them with “unreasonable requests” and made them carry cases of Puyehue Water to the CEO’s workspace loft, I can only say: hard work never killed anybody. Just ask my assistant มาลัย (which means "Garland of Flowers" in Thai), who has carried out such duties (and more) uncomplainingly over the years.
Others complained about being required to procure allegedly illegal substances for senior Bong Ventures management, including the CEO. This is standard procedure in acquiring customer service and supply chain management expertise.
Other anonymous employees are quoted as being “scarred” by “violent disagreements” in meetings, which they say left them “humiliated”. But this is a fundamental part of the “Bong Way”, which makes us special. The Bong Way is a cathartic process in which the employee or startup founder arrives at the correct solution, which is whatever I say it is.
And in the case of the employee who claims she was required to give birth at her desk, having been refused maternity leave: I can only hold my hands up and restate that this was a mistake, and I have learned my lessons here. We should not have employed reproductively capable staff and startup founders will be more carefully vetted in future.
We are nothing if not an inclusive company.
In the words of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama: “A lot of people are tired around here, but I'm not sure they're ready to lie down, stretch out and fall asleep.” Although that may have been Jim Jones (another misreported and misunderstood Californian pioneer).