This is a guest post by Mark Suster, a 2x entrepreneur who has gone to the Dark Side of VC. He started his first company in 1999 and was headquartered in London, leaving in 2005 and selling to a publicly traded French services company. He founded his second company in Palo Alto in 2005 and sold this company to Salesforce.com, becoming VP of Product Management. He joined GRP Partners in 2007 as a General Partner focusing on early-stage technology companies. Read more about Suster at Bothsidesofthetable and on Twitter at @msuster.
I’ve had a post in my head for months – maybe longer – about the role of a CEO. My primary role was “chief psychologist” and as I’ve learned over the past few years the same has been true as a VC. Both are basically people businesses.
I finally got around to writing it having read Fred Wilson’s post about what a CEO does. He says it basically comes down to three key functions:
- Sets the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicates it to all stakeholders
- Recruits, hires, and retains the very best talent for the company.
- Makes sure there is always enough cash in the bank.
Matt Blumberg, who runs one of Fred’s portfolio companies, Return Path, follows up with an additional three:
- Don’t be a bottleneck (make sure you aren’t holding up people’s work)
- Run great meetings (don’t be a productivity drain on the company)
- Stay fresh (be mentally and physically fit & attuned to what is going on in the world)
And I’d add to the world of “lists of three” the old adage that many VCs quote about boards having only three roles:
- Raising money
- Selling the company
- Hiring & Firing the CEO
These are good starting points and one day I’d like to elaborate more on the topic of running a company and as only I can do I will take these short lists and make them much longer ;-)
But today I’m going to do the opposite. I’d like to boil down the role to just one critical function: chief psychologist. Seguir leyendo “My Life As A CEO (And VC): Chief Psychologist”