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Andy calls it like he sees it. To be a successful CEO:

* be in it for the money
* increase usability
* harsh criticism is effective
* run the company with an iron fist
* cut the optimism crap
Comments12 Comments  

Comments

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from cre8pc 2463 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Sphunn because both Rand and Andy know I’d never be a good CEO :)

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from AndyBeard 2463 Days ago #
Votes: 1

I think those CEOs who are not in it for the money often do well stepping aside from the CEO role to handle other tasks

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from randfish 2461 Days ago #
Votes: 2

Andy - seriously? Larry & Sergei clearly weren’t in it for the money. Yang & Filo weren’t in it for the money. Steve Jobs isn’t in it for the money. Howard Schultz just got back in and it wasn’t for the money. Jeff Bezos wasn’t in for the money. Craig Newmark’s clearly not in it for the money.These are all folks who had fantastic ideas and wanted to see their dreams lived out. I’m not saying they didn’t enjoy the money or that part of the motivation wasn’t money - I’m saying that they didn’t look around and say "Where can I make money - that’s what I care about." I’m saying they stumbled onto something exciting and fun and interesting that they really cared about and they made a business out of it. Especially when it comes to the tech startup field, I think you want people who are passionate about the idea, not people who could care less about the product and just want to maximize their earnings.

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from fthead9 2461 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I have to give the nod to Rand on this point. If you aren’t passionate about what you’re doing the tough times will crush you. When $$ is your only motivation then it is far too easy to move on to the next $$ making scheme/company when times get tough. You may end up missing out on what could end up being a great success if you’d only stuck with it and grew the company. Of course the flip side is there are way too many dreamers who drink the cool-aid and don’t realize they can’t possibly succeed b/c there is no money to be made, period.

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from marksl 2460 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I’m with Rand on this one, if you’re only in it for the money you won’t be passionate enough to deliver a market beating product or service.As a CEO your focus should to provide the best product or service possible, if you are genuinely interested in what ever it is your selling you’re much more likely to achieve thisan if you do the money will follow.

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from LtDraper 2460 Days ago #
Votes: 0

<blockquote>If you are genuinely interested in what ever it is your selling you’re much more likely to achieve thisan if you do the money will follow.</blockquote>If you build it, they will come?If only that were true.  If you’re not concerned about making money, then you aren’t listening to your customers.  The biggest feedback you can ever get is whether people are buying what you’re selling.  I’m not saying that you don’t have to have passion in order to suceed.  But passion is just gas in the tank.  It won’t win the race.There are lots of people that ride their idea all the way down because they never took the time to look up and see that their business model can’t possibly work.  An idea without a working business model is a hobby, not a business.  Passion without an eye towards the bottom line is Slim Pickens riding the atomic bomb.  Yee-ha!There are lots of Web 2.0 companies that one looks at and just scratches their head wondering how they will ever make money.  I’m sure their CEOs are passionate and not in it for the money. They just won’t be CEOs much longer.This isn’t to say anything about short term vs long term.  Especially when you’re self financed, making a long term decision at the expense of short term profits can be very beneficial.  That’s still looking at the bottom line.  But pushing an idea with no eye towards making money is still just a hobby, even if you’ve got venture financing.

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from OliverTaco 2460 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I’ll just point out that Steve was passionate about the Lisa, the Newton, and NeXTStep.  He’s just gotten better about linking his passion with his business judgement.Jeff Bezos isn’t in it for the money any more, but he started Amazon to make money.  Lots and lots of money.   Look back at his earlier interviews from before the last boom.I think it is hard to look at what someone says when they’re worth a bazillion dollars and link it back, in any way, to what their earlier motivation was.I will say that my experience has been that people who are in it ONLY for the money are usually found in very senior sales roles rather than corporate leadership roles.-OT

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from Sugarrae 2460 Days ago #
Votes: 0

Of course, I just posted on my blog with counterpoints as well.... @Rand I get the people you’re citing, but let’s also be honest here... how many people have made millions and built successful companies who did prioritize the money at #1... it’s a lot longer than the list of those who didn’t. Some of the world’s most successful entreprenuers also didn’t finish high school - but we know they’re the exceptions in that aspect, not the rule.

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from Sugarrae 2460 Days ago #
Votes: 0

oh, and @andy agreed... if a company gets huge after being built on love, you hire people who are concerned about the money while you do what you love...

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from NickWilsdon 2460 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I agree with Andy. The best decision I ever made was teaming up with a partner who was fixated on the bottom line. They balanced my creative side and have helped grow the company finances. That has given us financial stability. Without that everything falls apart, no matter how good your management techiques are. It’s not really a fair comparrison when looking at Google or any of these other famous start-ups Rand. First, they launched with VC money. Google got 100k from Andy Bechtolsheim and then $25m from Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia. They were not dealing with the usual money worries most start-up CEO’s have (especially when they build up the business from ground zero with their own funds). Also Bill Campbell came in 2001:"I think John Doerr would say Bill Campbell saved Google", says Kleiner partner Will Hearst. "He coached Eric on what it means to be a CEO—not the CEO of Novell but of a company like Google. He taught Eric it’s a lot like being a janitor: There’s a lot of shit you have to do. And he spent a lot of time with Larry and Sergey, explaining the difference between being a cool company or a smart company and being a successful company. It didn’t happen overnight, but Bill Campbell won." "God bless that man" is what Doerr says. "I don’t know where the company would be without him." Moritz concurs: "He is the quiet, behind-the-scenes, unsung hero in this whole epic." Very good quote. http://men.style.com/gq/features/full?id=content_422VC involvement in itself is very similar to bringing in a partner to obsess over money and the bottom line. That makes it hard to assess these more famous cases. I’m convinced though that having that focus is a very important part of the equation if you want to be successful.  

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from AndrewofNagy 2460 Days ago #
Votes: -1

When this happens: * be in it for the money * increase usability * harsh criticism is effective * run the company with an iron fist * cut the optimism crapThe company becomes a place people don’t want to work at, buy from, or otherwise be involved with. Except for the people who are in it for the money. But is that really what running a business is about? Just money?

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from cre8pc 2460 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I’d be interested to see how Rand, Andy and Rae feel five years from now. I detest corporate life and have never had a good experience with a CEO. In my experience they started out as idealists with good intentions but after a few years became so distanced from ther employees and product that they no longer had a clue what was going on in their own companies. I’ve not wanted to strive to be one because of the fear of becoming someone I would later hate.

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