A Startup Founder’s Job


If you’re a startup founder, you have one job. That’s to make your company grow. That’s it.

The reason why I’m dedicating a blog post to this (seemingly) obvious topic is because I’ve seen (and experienced) several instances where this wasn’t the case. The founder was too focused on his/her specialty and not on making the wheels turn.

Designers like to design and engineers like to build. That’s what they’re comfortable with. That’s what they enjoy. That’s what they know. So it’s natural for them to focus their time on that and then delegate other tasks to their team (if they’re lucky enough to afford them). That’s what good founders/CEOs do right? Delegate?

Here’s the flaw in this strategy. No one cares as much about your company as you do. Stock options are nice, but the probability of an employee’s 1% turning into life changing money is low. If you own more then 50% of the company, then you should be leading its growth. Because it’s going to take a lot of passion to get the company off the ground.

Last week I wrote about Missionaries vs. Mercenaries. I noted that most founders are missionaries and employees are mercenaries. That’s why you can’t put growth solely on the shoulders of an employee. Even if you are lucky enough to get employees that buy into your mission, you need to lead growth/traction. If your employee fails, they just get another job. Their dream didn’t fail.

Starting a business is hard. Really fucking hard. If you want it to grow into what you think it can be, you need to lead the growth. That means knocking on doors, making phone calls, and cashing in every favor you’re owed. If you’re not willing to do this, why should someone else?