The Indian startup scene has been abuzz since a leaked email, purportedly from Housing.com’s CEO Rahul Yadav, surfaced on Quora. The email, in which Yadav cautions Sequoia Capital’s Shailendra Singh against poaching employees from his firm, is indicative of the bad blood that exists between these gentlemen, and contains some quite colourful language.
From: Rahul Yadav
Date: Fri, Mar 6, 2015 at 7:39 PM
Subject: Last straw
To: Shailendra Singh (Sequoia Capital India)
I’ve been humble to you guys even after inhuman and unethical things that you’ve done with Housing in the past.
You did the same inhuman and unethical things with large number of entrepreneurs including Ola, TFS, Flipkart, Dexetra and many more…
Now I just came to know you personally are completely after Housing’s employees and are brainwashing them to open some stupid incubation.
If you don’t stop messing around with me, directly or even indirectly, I will vacate the best of your firm.
Also, this mark the beginning of the end of Sequoia Cap in India.
Shailendra Singh took to Quora to clarify his position, saying he was “deeply hurt” by the email. He stated that he’d interviewed around a 100 candidates for an analyst position at Sequoia, and had finally extended the offer to one Housing.com employee. He compared the Indian startup culture unfavourably to that in Silicon Valley, saying “During my career in the valley, what stood out is a feeling of community – amongst entrepreneurs, employees, and investors – and a sense of professionalism, not personalizing the competition between funds or individuals, and having a drink together in the evening. For us, that means not being vindictive and petty and instead being collaborative with the ecosystem – to focus on what matters in the long term.”
In response, Yadav posted the following comment on Quora, in which he calls Shailendra Singh a motherf*****.
It has since been reported that there are disagreements between the investors and the management at Housing.com, and many investors feel that while the 26 year old Yadav is an “excellent product guy”, the company could do with a strategic leadership team. Yadav has since denied reports that he’s being replaced as CEO, saying “I run it (Housing.com) and take all the calls.”
CEOs using offensive language is nothing new. The best and the brightest of the men in command have occasionally been known to curse in public. Here’s a clip of Steve Jobs being rather unparliamentary.
And here T-Mobile CEO John Legere variously describes his competition as “(they) suck”, “worse”, and “yellow”.
Some of the best CEOs have had their intense moments.