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…
I love watching Roger Federer play tennis. He looks like he’s gliding across the court. And, no matter how hot it is, the guy never sweats. Never.
Then, there’s his polar opposite, Blossom’s favorite player, Rafael Nadal. Before he ever takes the court, Nadal looks like he’s been in a war.
Nadal is dripping with sweat before the match even starts. During a five set match, Nadal might lose eight pounds sweating. Now that’s hard work.
So, here we have the polar opposites, the guy who never sweats, Federer, and the guy who sweats and sweats, Nadal. …
“Tina, can you help me get all the VPs together? I need to meet with them right now. It’s urgent.”
“Okay,” Tina said.
“Have everyone, including you, meet me in the large conference room.”
A few minutes later Jeroen, Adolfo, Dave, Shoba, and Tina were all assembled around the table in the large conference room. I was at my usual spot at the end of the oval table.
The room was quiet. Then I started talking.
“All right,” I said. “Let me tell you what’s going on. …
“I just want to be able to breathe,” I said to Irwin and Winston, two VCs I was meeting with as I began raising our Series B funding. The second I uttered those words, I wanted them back. I thought my words exposed my inner feelings, but Irwin and Winston just moved on with the conversation.
However, the reality was I really did just want to breathe. We’d raised our Series A over two years earlier, and, at that point in time, I’d been running the company for over four years.
I kept asking myself, “Would it ever get any…
I love the movie, “The Social Network.” I think it’s kind of like The Godfather, but for startups instead. What do I mean by this?
There are so many memorable lines and takes in both movies that are applicable to business, in The Godfather’s case, and startups in The Social Network.
In The Godfather, you have, “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” In The Social Network, you have so many memorable scenes. The scene I’m looking for is the one where Mark has just gotten Peter Theil to give Facebook an initial investment.
Mark says to Eduardo, his co-founder, “We…