Even if they're cleared of insider trading, we'll all assume it was because they were good liars. It's hard to trust Pincus after everything's he's done and said. Insider trading sounds exactly like something he would do.
The sad part about all this is that Mark Pincus is intelligent and capable. If he wasn't such a bitch to green paper I think he could have built something truly amazing and earned his place in startup history alongside Zuckerberg. He had the intelligence but the soul of an animatronic robot. If being a heartless, emotionless, immoral, profit-extremist worked, there'd be no need for Human CEOs because robots programmed to be "dicks" would have taken over companies.
Moral of the story: Money is not the goal. It's the result of achieving a goal.
There is a theory that luck (openness to opportunity) has a bigger hand in who makes a fortune than anything else.
There are those (Pincus) who feel that you make your own luck, and are willing to cut corners... after all, history books are written by the winners, and all.
About robots - what do you think HFT algorithms are?
"I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue comes money and every other good of man, public as well as private."
If manipulating people is your primary focus day in and day out for years, it can make you unbalanced. You begin to think you can get away with anything. After all, you've been doing horrible things for years and nobody has stopped you -- heck, most people don't even realize what's happening. It's a short leap to see how they start to elevate their abuse to the level of deceiving and manipulating public markets.
One of the things that really troubled me after the financial meltdown was how much people got a pass for saying, "Oh, I didn't know." Even senior people.
I think ignorance is only a real excuse when you've tried to find out what's going on. But as it is, our culture seems to reward people for willful ignorance. That's a dangerous incentive.
He readily admitted to not liking them before he even started; but they offered him a percentage increase on his next highest offer...
I am sure not all employees there are like him, but the ones that are should hardly be considered innocent.
I once worked for a guy who turned out to be a scumbag willing to screw anyone out of a dollar. Once I realized that I left because although there was financial upside there, I also knew there was risk of being dicked over eventually by him as well.
If you don't own a controlling share of equity and the owners think short term, then you really can't be surprised when something happens with the cap table, valuations and offers that dicks you over as a minority shareholder.
I recall back in the day that many people were offered X number of stocks without ever understanding what percent that raw number of stocks/options represented. That was a massive sign that rank-and-file employees would be among those they are willing to dick over.
I never saw a figurehead that I could classify as evil or unbalanced. Maybe because the market was legit, maybe because everyone - manufacturers, house and players - knew the score. There was also enough legal protection and patenting so that if an idea or concept was stolen, there would be a price to pay.