Hubris at Sony


As we all know, Sony has cancelled the release of the movie, The Interview.

In a highly connected world, we are no longer at six degrees of separation. We are one hack away from being dismantled, or one link away from the next person.

The World Wide Web is a web of humanity… or inhumanity.

Sony made an artistic and marketing decision. The decision was to make a movie, a farce to Americans, but perhaps not a farce to North Korea. I also doubt it would be viewed as a farce by other countries like Russia or Cuba.

Each country has a culture that must be respected. We do not have to understand another culture, but we can show respect.

So Sony’s decision was a question of judgment. The company’s judgment was to create a film on the edge. Why? Because the edge sells.

But the edge is also razor sharp. “Live by the sword, die by the sword.”

We often see a lack of judgment and respect in society, politics and the workplace as well. Much of it is born from hubris.

Hubris can breed stupidity and a false sense of infallibility.

Consider these examples:

Bill Cosby and the numerous women accusing him of sexual assault and other misbehavior over decades.

Brian Sullivan, Chairman of CTPartners, a leading Wall Street executive search firm, and other executives accused of sexual harassment and discrimination of women – including “booze-fueled parties” and “lewd behavior” – and women getting profitable accounts taken away and given to men.

Ray McDonald, defensive tackle of the San Francisco 49ers, released today by the team for “a pattern of poor decision making” following news of an alleged sexual assault; earlier this year, McDonald was investigated by police for an alleged incident of domestic violence.

As these examples demonstrate, as individuals, at times, we lose our moral compass and make poor judgments, driven by success of a magnitude that can lead to hubris.

In the incredibly successful, talented world of Seth Rogan, screenwriter Dan Sterling (who wrote The Interview) and Sony, did they too suffer from hubris, a false sense of infallibility?

The bottom line: none of us is infallible. And all of us want respect – even if we are not understood.

[Photo Credit: Gilad Rom on Flickr via Creative Commons 2.0]

This post appeared on the LinkedIn Influencer page of Rob Wyse on December 17th, 2014 and can be viewed there by clicking here.
Rob Wyse (@robwyse) is Managing Director, New York, of Capital Content, where he advises thought leaders and writes about issues that drive economic opportunity, improve the environment, and lead to positive social change. His areas of focus include for-benefit enterprises, climate change, interfaith understanding, jobs and the economy, Internet access, and healthcare reform.