Alex Shin was pretty sure he’d just screwed up the deal.
It was early 2021, and Shin was pitching a couple of investors from the venture capital arm of Cisco Systems on the idea of investing in Blind—an app used by millions of workers at tech companies and employers to anonymously gossip about compensation, the horrors of dating in San Francisco and everything in between. Shin, an adviser for Blind at the time, told the Cisco folks about a new product from the company, a sentiment analysis tool for measuring the unvarnished opinions of employees about their workplaces.
Shin was proud of the tool, which calculated a score for employers on a five-star scale based on ratings from their workers. But then the investors, whom he was pitching on a video call, asked to see Cisco’s score. Shin didn’t want to show it to them. Cisco had a lowly 2.5 stars due to complaints from employees. The Cisco investors insisted.