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Monthly Archives: May 2010

Every job in a startup is (usually) hard: building a new product is hard, marketing a new product is hard, selling a new product is hard. But no job is harder than the job of a CEO. Also, no job is murkier: what do the best startup CEO focus on day after day?

Ben walks through our thinking on what the CEO ought to be doing from the vantage point of how we evaluate CEOs as we decide whether to fund their companies. The job is not easy to describe, much less ace. In my view, my friend and colleague Ben has done a fabulous job of both.

Cue the Kanye West.

Conventional wisdom: startups don’t have the time or dollars to invest in training. Training is only for big companies who can afford it, both cash- and time-wise.

Not surprisingly, Ben picks a fight with conventional wisdom in his latest post, Why Startups Should Train Their People. The post describes why and how even startups should invest in training. No company operates so flawlessly that the right training at the right time doesn’t make a huge, measurable difference.

A question I hear a lot at startup board meetings is this one: "is the current VP of Marketing or VP of Sales or CFO big enough to do this job in 18-24 months when we go international or need to build an indirect sales channel or do the roadshow for our IPO?"

While you always want the best executive team you can recruit, there are downsides to asking this question too early or in the wrong way. Ben enumerates the risks in his latest blog post The Scale Anticipation Fallacy, then offers his suggestions on the right way to evaluate and develop your executive team. 

(As you can tell, our blogging agenda for the next few months—and maybe longer if the fan mail keeps coming in—is a comprehensive set of posts on entrepreneurship, management, strategy, fund raising, and leadership. Coming soon: the return of my archive on these very topics. Stay tuned.)