Psychopathic CEOs are rife in Silicon Valley, experts say

“There is a high proportion of psychopathic CEOs in Silicon Valley, enabled by protective investors and weak human resources departments, according to a panel of experts at SXSW festival,” Olivia Solon reports for The Guardian. “Although the term ‘psychopath’ typically has negative connotations, some of the attributes associated with the disorder can be advantageous in a business setting.”

“‘A true psychopath is someone that has a blend of emotional, interpersonal, lifestyle and behavioral deficits but an uncanny ability to mask them. They come across as very charming, very gregarious. But underneath there’s a profound lack of remorse, callousness and a lack of empathy,’ said forensic and clinical psychologist Michael Woodworth, who has worked with psychopathic murderers in high security prisons, on Tuesday,” Solon reports. “According to recent studies there’s a high prevalence of psychopathy among high-level executives in a corporate environment: 4-8% compared with 1% in the general population.”

“This makes sense, according to Silicon Valley venture capitalist Bryan Stolle because ‘it’s an irrational act to start a company,'” Solon reports. “‘You have to have a tremendous amount of ego [and] self-deception to embark on that journey,’ he said. ‘You have to make sacrifices and give up things, including sometimes a marriage, family and friends. And you have to convince other people. So they are mostly very charismatic, charming and make you suspend the disbelief that something can’t be done.’ However, when a psychopath isn’t getting his or her way, they lose their veneer of charm. ‘When things aren’t happening the way they thought they were going to happen, they tend to completely flip and resort to bullying,’ said Stolle.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Have at it, armchair psychologists!

30 Comments

    1. I like the California Soviet State Leaders who decided to spend billions and billions on a train to nowhere while at the same time spending zero to add reservoirs or even maintain reservoirs for the new larger population of Californmexico. it is the best illustration of what Democrats can do to turn a healthy prosperous beautiful place into a bankrupt, lawless, littered hellhole where the biggest industry is perversion.

      1. So you listen to John & Ken on KFI too eh? The state suffers from too many Governor “Browndoggles” and the Dem idiots in Sacramento. The bullet train that isn’t anywhere near bullet speeds on a route few will travel that will cost billions in a state in dire need of basic infrastructure improvements – what’s not to like?

  1. Unsurprising, “strong personalities” tend to rise to the top. Happens in all industries. Just so long as there are mechanisms in place to keep their more extreme tendencies in check.

    1. There are certain niches of psychology that are, for various reasons, avoided like the plague. One of course is sex. Another is desperation behavior. Another is what we snarkily call the ‘sheeple’ phenomenon. I am entirely convinced that the vast majority of human beings are FOLLOWERS. They want to be lead by someone else. They fawn over whoever they perceive to be an alpha, in a ‘class’ of some sort above them. Of course, this is instilled, inflicted and fortified behavior by the overall human psyche where competition is a constant force.

      Who is The-Boss-Of-Me? That’s a constant concern among most human beings. Clearly, the lunatics of various sorts are making their way into leadership positions while actual, qualified, brilliant leaders are buried in the peasantry, if only because they want nothing to do with the lunatics who clawed their way to the top.

      Result: You’ve got to be crazy to want to run the world.

      Douglas Adams, 1979, ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’, chapter 28:

      The major problem—one of the major problems, for there are several—one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.

      To summarise: it is a well known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.

      To summarise the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.

      To summarise the summary of the summary: people are a problem.

      And here we are.

      1. If readers would like to go deeper into this phenomenon, I can provide my usual lecture about the worst of all personality clashes, that of the Producer versus the Relater. I’ve jabbered endlessly about it around the Internet, especially here at MDN, if you search around. But I’m always happy to jabber further upon request.

        The general concept is that Relaters are destroyers of Producers, with predictable results. When relaters are allowed to reach positions of leadership, those predictable results become worse according to the height of the leadership position.

        Then throw in the sociopaths, who brilliantly fake the relater personality, and the predictable results grow by orders of magnitude relative to actually sane relaters. (Hello Paul Ryan!)

        And again, here we are.

  2. Small vision there, psychopaths are rampant within Apple’s home nation. Just look at how the country is always at war, and how they embrace style over substance and how they engage in unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.

    Oh sorry, did I say psychopaths? I think I meant terrorists.

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