The startup CEO who went viral for crying about laying off two employees says 'a lot of good' has come from his LinkedIn post

The startup CEO who went viral for crying about laying off two employees says 'a lot of good' has come from his LinkedIn post
HyperSocial CEO Braden Wallake.LinkedIn
  • A boss went viral for sharing a crying selfie on LinkedIn after laying off two employees.
  • Braden Wallake told PR Week he wasn't sorry for his post because "a lot of good" has come from it.

The CEO of a marketing startup says he is not sorry for posting a crying selfie despite being criticized because "a lot of good" has come from it.

Braden Wallake, chief executive of Columbus, Ohio-based HyperSocial, said on LinkedIn that the post explaining why he had to let two employees go was "the most vulnerable thing" he had done.

"I am getting countless messages from other business owners saying, 'love this, been there, worst feeling, right there with you'," he told PR Week.

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Outsiders did not know what had actually gone on, "what actions we have taken, what conversations we have had with these employees," Wallake said.

One of the two employees planned to go back to school, while the other was still deciding what to do next, he told PR Week.


Insider had approached Wallake for further comment.

"I made a decision in February and stuck with that decision for far too long," Wallake wrote in his initial post. "And because of those failings, I had to do today, the toughest thing I've ever had to do."

Other LinkedIn users questioned why Wallake decided to post about the layoffs, with some saying it felt disingenuous.

Wallake wrote a second post to address the criticism, referring to himself as the "crying CEO." He apologized and said he didn't intend the post to be "about me or victimize myself."

He added: "It was not my place to out the employees' names publicly. What I want to do now, is try to make better of this situation."


Noah Smith, who had was director of client relations at HyperSocial, addressed Wallake's post on Wednesday and said he didn't think he would be "the guy who was let go by the crying CEO on LinkedIn. Yesterday I was just a guy working really hard to help keep a small company afloat."

Smith said he felt a mixture of sadness and excitement, but was not angry about being let go.

He also told Wallake: "I'm sad that making yourself vulnerable online makes you the target of people who feel like attacking someone."