3 Lessons We Can Learn From Pax Dickinson

3 lessons we can learn from Pax Dickinson

Sept. 10, 2013— -- Former employed person Pax Dickinson has been the subject of much discussion over the past 24 hours. The (now ex-) chief technology officer for the upstart website Business Insider, Dickinson drew criticism for comments on his Twitter account that were, well, awful. (For those reading on, a warning: Here there be profanity and other uncategorizable offensiveness.)

It all started soon after this award-worthy tweet:

Luckily for us, Dickinson proved it’s possible to have bad taste and a lack of class AND be misogynist. Which he proved only moments later, again via Twitter.

But this wasn’t Dickinson’s first rodeo, as Valleywag outlined Dickinson’s global outlook throughout time. Once the full extent of his misogyny and trolling were evident, an Internet backlash ensured.

This afternoon, Business Insider’s CEO Henry Blodget confirmed Dickinson’s departure, effective immediately, saying in a statement that Dickinson’s tweets “do not reflect our values and have no place at our company.”

Serious questions remain as to how someone could rise to a C-level position in the tech world while maintaining such a social media presence, but like, hey, I guess that’s a different discussion. In the meantime, let’s focus on ways to not be like Pax Dickinson.

1. Don’t be a terrible, awful person. Especially on social media

Social media is a great venue for the most American of traditions: bragging about what you’re eating, talking about television and exercising your right to freedom of speech. (Granted you are in the U.S., of course. Sorry, China.) But that doesn’t mean you should just say ANYTHING that’s on your mind.

Can you be snarky? Yes. Can you loathe pointless things in the world, like people who never get your name right at Starbucks and the use of #nofilter? Sure. (Seriously though, that #nofilter thing needs to stop.) But should you be insensitive to nuanced international events and defend epic levels of misogyny? No. It’s a great way to offend people and lose your job.

2. Check your hubris

It’s just always a good idea to keep an eye on one of the most dramatic flaws in man, amirite? Aside from the fact that they killed so many people in Greek plays, arrogance and pride just seem like good things to avoid, especially when you’re doing something that could get you fired. Luck runs out, everything ends, etc etc.

3. Check your bro

Arguably, this could have been tied into the hubris thing. But really, Dickinson brought bro to another level here, so it’s getting its own category. I mean: those aviators, the polo shirt. His name is Pax. Pax, for the love of God.

Does Pax lax? Probably. But does Pax work an executive boardroom anymore? No. So smother that privilege in the popped collar of your monogrammed Brooks Brothers, before it lands you on the street with nothing but a pair of salmon shorts to your name.