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Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola On The Raucous Town Hall Meeting That Ruffled Datto Employees’ Feathers
After a town hall meeting left some employees concerned about the future of the Datto culture, Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola spoke with CRN about his leadership style, the way Kaseya’s Datto acquisition came together and his desire for transparency.
It struck me after the town hall that ...
Voccola: Can I talk about the beginning part [of your question], is that cool? The way that this deal went down, here’s what I was alluding to. I will allude to it more directly. There were approximately 2,400 employees of Datto. Ninety-nine percent of them have no idea about what’s going on. They just don’t. It’s not because anybody is a scumbag, they just don’t know. That creates a shitty quality of life.
Everything in the world is not about money, but the less money someone makes, the more at risk financially they tend to be with a disruption in their life. If someone makes a million a year and they’re out of work for three weeks, they’re going to be ok. If someone makes $50,000 a year and they’re out of work for three weeks, they might be living paycheck to paycheck. That’s tough. It doesn’t make them good or bad. I’m not being a dick by saying that.
The vast majority of employees at any company are not making a million dollars a year, so they fit into the situation that when you are talking about their job, it’s their livelihood more than their career. When you talk about someone’s livelihood, there are real concerns. You’ve got a new baby at home. You want to get married. You’re taking care of your mom, whatever the hell it is, there’s real concern.
Because of the lack of communication that was done to the Datto employee base during the time between the deal being signed and the deal closing—in my view, maybe it’s my opinion, I think, and there’s an argument to be made about everything, armchair quarterbacking is easy—if it was me, I would have done it incredibly differently. I would follow the letter of the law, of course, because I’m not going to friggin’ go to jail, but I would have done it in a much more frequent, more collaborative way with the people who are coming in to buy the company, so the people could have heard the strategy of “why,” what the plans are moving forward, as much as you can legally disclose at the different milestones along that three month process, so you might ease fear, doubt, and uncertainty 10 or 15 percent.
So that wasn’t done. I have an issue with that. It really eff-ing pisses—I’m trying not to curse—it pisses me off because its not cool. I don’t like to do business like that because you just make someone’s life less good.
I don’t work because I want to be the richest man in the world. It’s cool disrupting industries and building solutions that make change. It’s cool impacting literally thousands of people’s lives, financially, career-wise, that’s what I can do. I’m not a doctor. I don’t go out and deliver babies and cure cancer. I run a for-profit company. And I take a lot of pride. My ego is impacting a lot of people’s lives, employees and customers. This isn’t some rehearsed bullshit fucking answer. That’s the reason I work 80 hours a week. Its why I do what I do.
So I don’t know that, for a leader, that’s the best answer I can give. I am clearly never going to write a leadership book because I don’t articulate shit well.