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Entrepreneurs Panel

Richard O'Sullivan
Steve Purdham
Jennie Johnson
Brian Hay
Julie Meyer
Charlie Mullins
Laura Tenison
David Pollock
Michael Oliver
Debbie Pierce
Tony Caldeira
Jeremy Roberts

Sleeping with the enemy

Steve Purdham

Has worked in the software industry for more than 25 years. Founded Surfcontrol in the early 80s and built it into a global provider of internet filtering software before it was sold to California-based Websense in 2007 for £201 million. Moved straight onto the launch of We7, an advertising-funded music download company supported by rock legend Peter Gabriel. We7 was relaunched in 2008 as an internet jukebox with 3.5 million songs which users can listen to for free. Purdham is hoping for user figures of two million in 2009.

Question: 

I recently found out that a member of my senior management team has been dating someone in the equivalent position at our biggest competitor. It sounds like they are serious about each other and I worry about the implications of their pillow talk. What can I do?

Answer: 

Pillow talk can work two ways so your counterpart at your competition will be in the same boat.

The most you can do is be open with your employee, explain your concerns, remind them of their contractual confidentiality and just keep a careful eye on developments.

Too much pressure the wrong way will create the self-fulfilling prophecy you are trying to avoid.

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