Good morning, All,
We’ve always wondered what the tipping point is, when a startup goes from ‘startup’ to ‘company.’ We often wonder the same thing about Founder/CEO. Corporate paperwork aside, does founding a company make one a CEO? Having a great idea is one thing; knowing how to implement is quite another matter. Early stage companies may not have the juice or means to bring on a CEO who is a subject matter expert/can appeal to investors, so the founders often fill the role. Does that mean that the founder should keep the job, once the company is ready to moved to the next level? Not necessarily. A founder is a person who will sacrifice everything to build something out of nothing. A CEO is someone who takes care of the business end of the business and not uncommonly, someone the investors may bring in at some point to help take it to the next level. Not all founders like the idea of giving up the reigns – it’s their baby. Newsflash: always a good idea to play to your strengths – and to be aware of your shortcomings. Founder and CEO - not everyone is good at both, especially in an industry rife with youth, and with youth comes inexperience in business. Don’t be upset if/when it’s time for you to step aside, at least for the time being. Remember: a then young Larry Page and Sergei Brin gave up the reigns to Eric Schmidt, and Steve Jobs was much better suited to be Apple’s CEO the second time around. Mark Zuckerberg has long been the online media’s apotheosis of the startup CEO: young, brash – and he built a company with one of the largest populations on the planet. And like most countries right now, well, the economy isn’t doing very well. FB is working on a business model (Facebook’s New Retargeted Ads Performing “Very Well”, Adds Partners To Run Them: http://tcrn.ch/Og00p0) But targeting users – and having them actually click - are two different things, and do you go to FB to do your shopping? Know your audience – and decide whether or not you’re really up to the job of CEO. Having the passion doesn’t mean you have the skills to run a company. That’s what distinguishes a true leader: you know when to get out of your own way. Facebook has it’s place in the world – for now – until something else comes along, and maybe that’s why something else almost always comes along in the world of technology. Is it really the short attention span of users, or the person at the top's failure to innovate? Consider Amazon and Apple - companies that create new models and markets. Amazon started as a bookseller, grew to become an online shopping center - then changed the game with the Kindle. Apple, which nearly disappeared at one point, is now one of the most successful companies in the world. And there’s the lesson for you: know your users/customers/members and give them something they don’t even know that they need – yet. The true winners are the market-makers. They’re industry leaders that inspire Macolytes rather than follow the old models and devolve into just another company seemingly destined to dot come and go. Onward and forward.