Great Writing, But It Ain’t Necessarily So

I mean it: great writing and great blogging, short and full of meaning but, in my opinion, still wrong. It’s intriguingly right most of the time, wrong only on rare exceptions, so perhaps it’s more “not necessarily” than wrong. Before I go there, here is Marc Andreessen’s Guide to Startups on How to Hire a Professional CEO:


If you don’t have anyone on your founding team who is capable of being CEO, then sell your company — now.

That’s it. That’s the whole post. And that’s brilliant, and I love it.

I think it’s a great conversation opener and almost always true, but then I think of the companies whose founders we’ve never heard of because they were two or three geeks with great technical capability (for example) who were never intended to run a company. Or two or three sales geniuses, or one stubborn visionary.

Starting a company and running a company often take different talents. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Marc Andreessen, and the like are unusual. Eric Schmidt is CEO of Google and they’re doing okay, and Microsoft has done alright under Steve Balmer.

I’d think that this beautifully-pithy sentence would have been better had he substituted the word “management” for “founding,” as in …

“If you don’t have anyone on your management team who is capable of being CEO, then sell your company — now.”

Small change, and it’s a very good point either way.

— Tim


  • Dave Andersen says:

    Wasn't it Netscape, started by a couple-a guys Marc Andreessen and Jim Clarke, who famously hired a hotshot CEO from FedEx named Jim Barksdale, giving us the Marc, Bark and Clarke show?

    I seem to remember that working out pretty well for quite a while.

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