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To CEO or not to CEO?

JeffKoenigJeffKoenig subscriber Posts: 1
edited August 2012 in Business Planning
Before I jump in to my question, I would first like to thank the members of the SuN community in advance for any replies this topic may receive. Your opinions and expertise are greatly appreciated.
I am currently the CEO of a media based web 2.0 start up. We`re a pre-launch company in the formative stages (somewhere in between development and capitalization), and I`m beginning to second guess my role within the company and how best I can serve the interests of my partners, employees, and future interest holders.
My personal background is in video production. I`ve had some fun producing video content for the web in the past, and my current venture expands on that passion by creating original video content on specific topics, and framing that video within a website that provides both informational resources related to the topic, as well as a social networking aspect that allows our users to connect with others sharing an interest in the topic.
The problem that I have is that while I happily wear the title of Writer/Director/Producer, it`s much more difficult to predict how successful I will be as a CEO. To my credit, I have director-level corporate management experience, I`m intelligent, and I`m a thorough researcher. I believe in my abilities as a visionary and a leader, as these skills are necessary to Produce and Direct a production of any significant size.
On the negative, I have never started even a small business before. Everything I`ve accomplished with this company, from the business plan to the simplest things like obtaining an EIN, was accomplished only through research and trial and error, or through the assistance of organizations like SCORE. Unlike (apparently) most of the contributers on sites like Found|Read, I do not have an MBA from Stanford or an extensive list of silicon valley bigwigs as mentors. And although I`m not afraid of math, I`ve always straddled the line more toward the "creative" side than the "numbers" side.
In spite of that, I`ve been blessed with the fortune to be able to put together a good team and gather enough F&F investments to get this company off the ground. The pieces are in place and I know that I CAN get this company to launch and beyond... but SHOULD I?
A more experienced CEO, while lacking my personal interest in this company, would be far better prepared than I to anticipate and overcome the growing pains we`re bound to experience down the road.
I like looking at my business cards and seeing "CEO" printed there. However, my partners and employees are real people with real families and real bills to pay. Many of them are expending considerable time and energy as "sweat equity" in trade for deferred financial considerations. I owe it to them, as CEO and the leader of this project, to do everything I can to help them realize those returns.
How do I know if one of those things is finding someone better qualified to run the day to day operations of the company?
Is finding the right Angel/mentor/adviser the answer?
I`m sure many entrepreneurs have moments when they ask themselves "am I really up to this?" and I`m no different. Advice from others who have had similar experiences would be greatly welcome. Thank you.
Jeff Koenig


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    JeffKoenigJeffKoenig subscriber Posts: 1
    Thank you, Craig, for your insightful commentary. It was tremendously helpful.
    I`d like to address some of the comments you made, starting with the last first:

    On a deeper level, you may also want to look at your own psychology.
    Are you afraid to stand out? Do you feel (operative word) that pride is
    a bad thing? Do you have trouble believing that you`re better than
    other people in various ways? If so, then much of your second-guessing
    likely is coming from a fear of being assertive, aggressive, and
    competitive. That`s a therapeutic situation, not a business situation.

    Before I became a film maker, I started out as an actor. While I
    believe you make a valid observation, I can decisively say that it does
    not apply to my particular case. I have no problems being the center of
    attention. I have always been comfortable taking the lead role, so
    to speak.
    I became a Producer/Director because I wanted more control, and a
    bigger say in the work that I was doing. I had ideas that I wanted to
    present and the only way I could present them was to create the
    projects myself; a direct parallel to how I got myself here, as the
    leading founder of a new company. In a way, it`s the next logical step
    in the progression... once I took control over the production of the
    content, the next link in the chain was distribution.

    Who created the idea for this company? Who had the overall vision for
    what it`s intended to accomplish? According to whose life plan will
    this company function?
    If the answer is you, then you should be the CEO.

    It was most definitely me, with due credit given to my other General
    Partners for helping to shape the ideas and hone the rougher edges from
    the concept.
    Despite my lack of specific familiarity with some aspects of the
    start-up process, I do feel confident that I can accomplish what`s
    necessary to fill this role. My only concern  is about how much my
    mistakes will impact those around me who are depending on me.
    I have a casual (and very non-professional) interest in cooking. I`ll use that to create an analogy:
    I`ve never made a Creme Broulee before. I`ve eaten them, discerned what
    I like about them. I`m familiar enough with the techniques involved
    that I could probably look at a recipe and whip one up, even adding my
    own twist (candied orange rind?) to see what happens. And this type of
    experimentation is great for a casual evening at home.
    However, I suddenly find myself preparing a large dinner for several
    important guests. Do I still try the experiment, or should I just hire
    a professional pastry chef who`s made a million creme broulees and can
    remove all the doubt from the execution?
    That`s where I was last night when I typed up my (excedingly long) post.
    However, what I take from your response, Craig, is this point:
    Were I to hire that ringer professional, it would no longer be my dinner
    I`d be serving. There`d be less risk, yes, but it would also be devoid
    of whatever personal touches I may be able to add to the recipe. Further, by making sure I have experienced help by my side in the kitchen, and perhaps the advice of someone who`s an old pro at pastries, the chances of things going badly are greatly reduced.
    It is, if you`ll please forgive the pun, excellent food for thought. Again, thank you for the response.
    JeffKoenig6/28/2008 10:16 PM
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    NuevolutionNuevolution subscriber Posts: 30 Bronze Level Member
    Very well said.
    I like this "Everday life
    is tangible, whereas logical formulas are abstractions. Abstractions
    can offer certainty; everyday life can only offer high probabilities".
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    infinique3infinique3 subscriber Posts: 0 Member
    You need the right title for the right job.
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