What A CEO Does. I am posting this as a MBA Mondays post.
But I did not learn this little lesson at business school. I learned it from a very experienced venture capitalist early in my post-MBA career. I was working on a CEO search for one of our struggling portfolio comapnies. We had a bunch of them. I started in the venture capital business just as the PC hardware bubble of the early 80s was busting. Anyway back to the CEO search. He answered without thinking: How to Lead. I wanted to share my approach to leadership that I’ve refined over the past few years, especially in the last six months since I joined MeUndies.
It incorporates a lot of best practices shared by leaders I’m inspired by: Brian Chesky, Tristan Walker, Keith Rabois, Ben Horowitz, among others. Triaging: Survey the Scene, Prioritize, and Take Action At first, everything is going to feel like a mess. Too much process and predictability = not innovating/creating fast enough.New problems every day that require triaging to survey the scene, prioritize, and take action.Some things will look serious, but they are actually colds.Don’t allocate time and resources toward solving this because it’s just going to go away.Other things are going to present themselves as colds, but if not diagnosed properly, they can actually become fatal.Prioritize and allocate time and resources toward solving this. The concept of editing is the best metaphor for leading a company: Simplify and Focus Allocate Resources. Notes on Leadership. [This blog post was originally published on TechCrunch on March 14, 2010.]
At Andreessen Horowitz, we favor founders running the company. The reasons are many (and will be the topic of a future blog post). As a result, we spend a great deal of time thinking about the characteristics required to be a founding CEO. Perhaps the most important attribute required to be a successful founding CEO is leadership. So what is leadership and how do we think about it in the context of the CEO job? Little Things. “I have seen far too many people who upon recognizing today’s gap try very hard to determine what decision has to be made to close it.
But today’s gap represents a failure of planning some time in the past.”- Andy Grove When you run a company, big things stay on your mind. Will we make the quarter? Did we hire the right engineers? Will the release be on time? The Catch 22 is that if you attempt to act on those “big things,” you will usually do big damage. Why Entrepreneurs Should Be Respected More Than Loved. One of the vivid memories I have from being a startup CEO is the feeling that most people in your company have a look in their eyes that like they can do your job as well as you.
How hard could it be? You just assign out tasks to all of us. In the early days the CEO is the jack-of-all-trades, doer-of-all, famously the “chief janitor” or coffee maker. But if you level up, raise capital and grow customers, revenue and staff – life changes. Eventually you need a VP of Product to handle your product roadmap, a CTO for engineering leadership and VPs of sales, marketing & biz dev. Startup Founders Should Flip Burgers. This is part of my ongoing series Startup Advice.
This is a story of one of the risks of venture capital. When you’re an early-stage startup that hasn’t raised any institutional money you end up doing almost every job function of the company yourself. But some companies have entrepreneurs that seem talented on paper, are in a space that seems interesting to investors and are able to raise venture capital early in the company’s existence. DIY vs Delegate. Making Yourself a CEO. She got a big booty so I call her Big Booty.—2 Chainz, Birthday Song.
Google's Eric Schmidt has these 9 rules for emailing. Communication in the Internet Century usually means using email, and email, despite being remarkably useful and powerful, often inspires momentous dread in otherwise optimistic, happy humans.
Here are our personal rules for mitigating that sense of foreboding: Cover of 'How Google Works,' by Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg How Google Works 1. Respond quickly. There are people who can be relied upon to respond promptly to emails, and those who can’t. Here’s How to Cancel a Meeting the Right Way. I wrote a version of this post four years ago but given the hectic nature of today’s tech markets I thought it was worth revisiting and updating.
End of the year startup checklist. I call the last working week in December Board Week because it’s packed with board meetings.
These board meetings are often the most important of the year. By virtue of their place on the calendar, everyone in the room is thinking more strategically, less tactically. These meetings set the tone and strategy for the company for the upcoming year. How things get done. I’ve heard a lot of different theories about how things get done. I’m interested in this topic, so I pay attention and see how the theories hold up. Here’s the best one: a combination of focus and personal connections.
Charlie Rose said this to Paul Graham, who told it to me.