“We aren’t troubled by his hypocrisy”: CrossFit wants Ron Conway’s help to take on Big Soda

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Last week, I wrote about the hypocrisy of high profile San Francisco tech figures and their willingness to engage in the same political games – and dirty tricks – that they once pledged to “disrupt.”

In particular, I wrote about Ron Conway’s behavior during the recent San Francisco municipal elections: Instructing his portfolio CEOs and their employees how to vote, promising quid pro quos to donors if they support his pet causes and threatening dire consequences if they did not. [Disclosure: Conway is an investor in Pando]

The piece was one of our highest read of the week, but you wouldn’t know that from the Twitter feeds of San Francisco tech execs. Privately, they were willing to agree with conclusions – so many emails, so many texts! – but none dared so much as retweet the piece, lest some of those dire consequences head their way. “I don’t want to get in a public fight with Ron, but just wanted to say…” 

Meanwhile, the pro-Conway camp was less reticent, with folks like John C Dvorak accusing me of writing a “hit piece” against Uncle Ron.

I’m SHOCKED, SHOCKED that politics is going on in San Francisco. This looks like a hit piece if you ask me. https://t.co/kyXWdSExfe.

— John C. Dvorak (@THErealDVORAK) November 10, 2015

Dvorak’s rebuttal was a familiar one: Everyone knows San Francisco politics is corrupt, so why shouldn’t tech leaders play along?

By far my favourite email, however, came from Brian Mulvaney, Chief Strategist at CrossFit…

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Conway’s political advisor: It’s Ron’s constitutional responsibility to tell tech CEOs how to vote

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Yesterday I published a mass email sent by Ron Conway, in which the angel investor asked portfolio CEOs to tell their employees how to vote in SF’s upcoming municipal election.  

The email was fascinating but still left plenty of unanswered questions, not least because Conway didn’t explain why he wanted his tens of thousands of portfolio employees to vote a particular way. Also unclear was whether Conway appreciated the implications of a wealthy investor attempting to sway a city ballot using his network of investments.

Then, late yesterday afternoon, I received a response from Alex Tourk, previously a staffer for ex-mayor Gavin Newsom, and now Conway’s “political advisor”.

Tourk told me:

Ron is exercising his constitutional right – even responsibility – to participate in the political process of his hometown and have opinions about candidates and issues on the ballot. It’s no different from any other CEO or union or high profile individual making endorsements…

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