How Not To Handle A Resignation Gracefully

There are two sides to every story, but this email exchange between Mahalo founder and CEO Jason Calacanis and one of his (now former) employees is a lesson in how not to handle a resignation.

Jason says this was a private exchange and that he was just being honest with Evan. Evan says Jason can’t control his emotions.

If you’re going to trash your employee, do it verbally so that there isn’t a record of it on the Internet later. Or, don’t trash them at all and organize drinks with the team to see them off so that the rest of your employees know you care. Read from the bottom up.

April 20, 2010


Jason Calacanis at his finest.

I should note, that instead of responding, he instead removed my email account. Real pro of him. Good thing I forwarded it to myself first :P

Begin forwarded message:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Evan Culver
Date: Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 10:53 PM
Subject: Re: Resignation


What is your deal? I will ultimately *have* to come back to Mahalo to pick up my things. Why so rash, what is your rationale? This seems really unprofessional and when other developers and employees see this, it just makes them want to leave ASAP. Is it really that big of a deal that people find better things for them than Mahalo?

On Tue, Apr 20, 2010 at 10:19 PM, wrote:


Don’t come back to the office, do not email the team list.

Elliot will send you paperwork tomorrow. Today was your last day.

Good luck being employee 4,367 at a dying company.

Horribly disappointed in you.


From: Evan Culver
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 2010 21:48:37 -0700
To: Jason Calacanis; Jacob Burch; Jeff Ammons
Subject: Resignation

Hey guys,

This isn’t an easy email to write, but as the subject suggests, this email is to inform you of my resignation from Mahalo effective in 2 weeks. An amazing opportunity came out of nowhere that I just couldn’t say no to. I’ll be writing code as a UI engineer at and contributing to the open-source project on a full-time basis.

I’ve never worked with such a great team and learned so much in such a short period of time. I owe all of it to the opportunity you’ve given me, Jason and I thank you immensely for that. Jeff and Jacob, you guys are amazingly brave for tackling such a great undertaking. I’m impressed you do it with seemingly such ease. Many people would fail quickly in your shoes and I applaud you for your leadership in such a fast-paced environment and against such great odds.

I certainly won’t be going far (), so I hope to continue a lasting relationship and hope that we all can work together sometime in the future.

Thanks again,