Transitioning from founder to CEO is hard, especially if you have never been a CEO before. Not all founders are able to do it, and even those that do, sometimes stumble at later stages of growth. Founders need to be self-aware of their transition potential and inherent capabilities.
- In Why Founders Fail: The Product CEO Paradox, Ben Horowitz describes the case where the founder isn’t able to strike the right balance between managing vs. controlling vs. ignoring their product vision, as the company scales.
- Steve Blank has a Wall Street Journal’s article, Defining the Roles of Founders, says there’s a difference between Founders, Founding Team and Founding CEO.
- Dr. Jeff Cornall asks the age-old question, Can Entrepreneurs Make Good Managers?, noting that the skills for each are different.
- Rob Baileys from DataSift on how to manage the VC relationship, in Getting the VC (Relationships) You Want.
- Marc Barros who admitidely didn’t make the cut as a founder-CEO, on Stop being a founder, and start being a CEO.
- Fred Destin likes to give entrepreneurs a chance to scale, and warns against impatient VC’s in There are no shortcuts to intelligent founder – ceo transitions.
- Jeffrey Minch has a very realistic post about The Loneliness of Leadership.
- Mark Suster tells the story of a CEO who replaced himself, in Should you consider replacing yourself as a CEO
- Reid Hoffman says you can still hire a “founder” CEO, even if you were the “founding” CEO, in If, Why, and How Founders Should Hire a “Professional” CEO.
- Brett Hurt, co-founder of Bazaarvoice outlines some mistakes to avoid, in You aren’t born knowing how to be a CEO
2012 & Prior
- Ben Horowitz advises CEOs to be more aware of their own psychology in What’s the Most Difficult CEO Skill? Managing Your Own Psychology.
- Fred Wilson encourages startup CEOs to work with a mentor or coach in The CEO Mentor and Coach.
- Fred Wilson cites the example of Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn, on the fact that a founder has stepped-up if they hand the CEO role to an outsider and become a Chairman, in When The Founder “Steps-Up”. “Entrepreneurs are better at the tinkering style of management that is required to get the product/service and business model right. Hired managers are often better at executing it once the plan is set.
- Ben Horowitz explains Why We Prefer Founding CEOs, mainly because they are better at innovating the business, and have more comprehensive knowledge as well as moral authority.
- Noam Wasserman wrote the seminal view on the The Founder’s Dilemma, where the entrepreneur needs to choose between money and power (2008), and there’s a longer “paper” version, Rich versus King: The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma.