- As you may have known, the outrage over the petty and malicious conduct of your employee, Adria Richards, is about to erupt in an explosion of lulz and collateral damage over anyone and anything that had the misfortune of being in contact with this individual. Here is what's going to happen:
- Anonymous has reviewed the situation and rendered judgment using their collective wisdom and experience. Adria Richards engaged in malicious conduct to destroy the another individual's professional career due to what she perceived as an affront to her own extremist views from a comment that was not directed at her, not meant for her to hear, and certainly not for her to provide unwarranted input on. As such, she should have her professional career destroyed just like her victim in order for justice to be rendered and balance restored to the universe. The hivemind's judgement is final and there is no appeal. No forgiveness, no forgetting remember?
- Many petitions have been signed calling for her firing from Sendgrid in retaliation for her reprehensible conduct at PyCon. These will be seen as meaningless to Sendgrid's management and will be ignored. Please note that I'm not telling you to ignore them. I'm acknowledging that you WILL ignore them because 99% of internet petitions are utter bullcrap. This is mostly a non-issue for you. However, this is primarily used to generate online social feedback about the situation, mobilizing each side through tweets and retweets, cached webpages, and building the big picture. And from the big picture I can already see, Adria Richards is being presented as a horrible, hypocritical, and vulgar individual who deserves retribution for what she has done.
- You client list has also been obtained by Anonymous. They have already begun harassing your customers. These include obnoxious phone calls, emails, denial of service attacks, online vandalism and defamation, and even real-life harassment (we'll get to this later). From a purely logical standpoint, your customers should realize and understand that this is not Sendgrid's fault and continue doing business with you. However, in real life, the human condition remains dominant, with all the pesky emotions and instincts which defy logic at times. Some of your customers may just cut all business ties because they don't have the time or desire to deal with this nonsense. Anonymous has analyzed your business model, and based on your clientele and competitors, you are very vulnerable. They are very focused on this.
- Your financial backers have also been targeted for the same harassment. Normally, when a venture capitalist puts money into your organization, a bond is forged through your idea or product gaining the confidence of your financial backer for future returns. This is a strong bond that is not easily broken through petty harassment. However, if any of your backers have something embarrassing or illegal to hide (sexual misconduct, tax fraud, etc), Anonymous WILL find it (they are good at doing this) and make it public. I guarantee, given the reputation of Anonymous, this is a factor that they will be considering when deciding how to continue their dealings with Sendgrid.
- Real life harassment is an escalation that comes into play based on how long this situation is allowed to play out. It is not affected by the effectiveness of the previous forms of harassment. Even if your customers and financial backers are dropping like flies (or the opposite, entirely unaffected), this will still happen if Anonymous still maintains an interest in this situation. Doxing is a term used to define the discovery and dissemination of all personal information, including but not limited to home address, phone numbers, credit card numbers, your medical records, what brand of toothpaste you buy, etc. If some of the more talented members of Anonymous take an interest into this, every employee of Sendgrid becomes a target, starting at the top. For your reference, this is already happening to Ms. Richards as per standard protocol. There are also some interesting information about her dentist that was dug up in the process.
- Collateral damage to your infrastructure is a process which may have already started. Whatever information systems which your company relies on is likely being targeted for intrusion and retrieval of sensitive data. This info will be passed along to your competitors, forwarded to legal and regulatory authorities if malicious and illegal activities are indicated(may even be intentionally modified and forwarded anyways to cause trouble), or just posted online for everyone.
- So, in closing, I hope this information helps you make an informed choice on how to deal with the situation. I do not represent, speak for, nor am associated with Anonymous, but I have seen some of their tactics. I present this information NOT as any gesture of threat, but merely to inform. This information is being provided free of charge and I make no guarantees on the accuracy of the material. However, you do have a choice to make at this point: Do nothing, or Publicly announce that Ms. Richards will be fired. The opportunity to stop this growing mob in its tracks before it tries to tear Sendgrid apart is as simple as publicly announcing Ms. Richards' firing. Now, you also have the opportunity to be sneaky about it and just publicly announcing the firing but not actually do it. But if Anonymous ever finds out, they will bring the full fury on you and your company. To put it in perspective, not even secure government websites are safe. If you believe you can tough it out, by all means, do nothing. This attack will last no more than a month at most. Anonymous' one weakness is a short attention span. If something even more outrageous happens over the next few days, resources will be diverted elsewhere and you get off scott free. I wish you the best of luck.