“We’re upping our plan for the year,” “James,” the CEO of a very successful startup I’m working with said to me. It was the second time he’d increased his plan in the past six months.
“Cool,” I said. “You’ve finally entered what I call ‘turn the crank’ mode. The flywheel is turning at a really good pace, so your revenue growth will get easier and easier.”
“Yes, it is,” he said. “I think revenue is going to double to over $20 million this year.”
“That’s fantastic,” I said. “How’s the team feeling?”
“They’re really pumped up,” James said.
“How much money are you going to try and raise?” I asked “Sarah.”
“I’m thinking we should raise $1.5 million this round,” Sarah said to me.
“How long will the money last?” I asked.
“I’m not sure,” Sarah said. “I’m waiting on my fractional CFO to give me the data.”
I sighed. “Okay,” I said. “Let’s see if we can come up with a reasonable guess. How much money do you think you’re going to burn, after you calculate your revenue and your expenses, each month?”
“I think it will be around $150K per month,” Sarah said.
“All right. Then…
“This is the first time we’ve ever disagreed,” I said to Gill, one of the investors in my company. I had just told him that I wanted to get a loan for my company, and Gill, much to my surprise, was against the idea.
“I know, Brett. I know,” Gill said. “My feeling is that Venture Capital is like jet fuel for a startup.
“A loan is like the exact opposite of jet fuel.
“Besides,” Gill said ominously, “Loans always come due at exactly the wrong time.”
Two weeks prior to meeting with Gill, I was meeting with Tina, our…
“With this next round of funding, we’re going to valued at $1.5 billion,” “Ray,” a CEO I’m working with, said to me the other day.
“That’s awesome!” I said. “Congratulations. I remember how hard it was at the beginning. You’ve come a long way.”
“I know,” Ray said.
Working with Ray has been a wild ride.
I met Ray through a mutual friend, Aric. Aric asked me, as a favor to him, to help Ray start his company.
From our first meeting together, it was clear Ray had a game-changing idea. …
I recently wrote an article titled, “Should You Be Friends With Your Co-Founders?” In the article, I focused on the differences between you, the CEO, and your co-founders, the loneliness of being CEO, and how you can’t freely share everything with your co-founders.
My beliefs on co-founder relationships is based my experience as a CEO, and it is based on my experience working with other CEOs. Needless to say, not everyone agreed with my thesis.
For example one reader wrote me, and said:
“I’m of the belief, that with anyone, especially my cofounders, that if we have the same information…
“I want to join your company Brett, but I have conditions,” Greg, one of top ten engineers on the planet in my industry said to me.
I smiled. Then I said, “Okay, what are your conditions?”
“Well, there’s really only one condition I have,” Greg said. “I want to take three to six months off every year to travel. Will that work for you?”
I didn’t hesitate. I immediately said, “Yes, we can make that work. When can you start?”
“I need to wrap up the design I’m working on at Maxim (our larger competitor). Then I can join you.”
“I think each of the founders should have a company credit card,” “Randy,” one of my co-founders said during a staff meeting early in our company’s history. “it will ease some of the burden on you.”
“That’s okay,” I said. “I want the burden.”
Randy’s request seems reasonable, doesn’t it? Yet I was dead set against it.
Credit cards give people the ability to spend without approval. That’s a recipe for disaster when you’re just starting out.
Eventually you can loosen the grip on spending, but not now. …
“Man, you’re living a charmed life right now,” I said to “Ray,” the CEO of a very hot startup I’ve been working with.
“Thirty minutes and he’s (an investor) going to give you $75 million!” I shook my head in disbelief.
“It makes up for the problems I had earlier,” Ray said.
“I remember,” I said to Ray. “I remember.”
But that wasn’t the situation Ray was in now. His company was hitting on all cylinders.
The company was landing major customers at a very fast clip. They had a huge technical advantage versus the competition. …
“Brett, Tony Hsieh died,” Blossom said to me.
“What?” I was just waking up, and this news wasn’t registering with me.
“Tony Hsieh died. I know you really liked him,” my wife said to me.
“How?” I asked.
“The house he was staying at caught fire, and he died.”
I took a big sigh, and then I said, “He was so young, not even 50 I bet.”
“He was 46,” Blossom said to me.
“That’s so sad,” I said.
I started reflecting on Tony Hsieh, and his impact on me. I never met Tony, but he had a huge affect…
When I was a kid, I used to really like westerns. Maybe it was because my Dad really liked westerns, so I liked westerns too.
There was a rather obscure western that I really liked called, “The Culpepper Cattle Company.” It’s the story of young, wanna be cowboy, named Ben, and his coming of age on a cattle drive.
Even though I haven’t seen the movie in years, there’s a great scene that I still remember. Ben, the young cowboy, is admiring the horse that Luke, an older, weathered, cowboy owns.
Ben looks and Luke and says, “Sure is a…