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There he goes again

Marc Andreessen has written another great post in his series on startups.  This one is on hiring, managing, promoting, and firing executives.  This is a must read for any CEO or Board member of a startup.

Although I agree with everything Marc writes, some key takeaways for me:

  • Most startups hire executives too early.  You can often get a function started with a manager or director level person.  This saves some money and also means you hire an executive when there is something to manage, which is their strength.  Very few executives are strong at doing the work themselves, building an organization AND managing an organization.
  • Don't be afraid of managing your executives with 1:1 meetings, specific goal settings, and performance evaluations.  Everyone needs this.
  • Ruthlessly gather data from all levels of your organization.  Don't be afraid that you are "going around" the executive.  A strong executive will be happy to have you talk to everyone in their organization.  A weak executive will be terrified.
  • When it comes to the decision to fire the executive, go with your gut but gather data to back up your feelings.  And then, move quickly.  In my experience, once an executive is fired, everyone else in the organization asks the CEO "What took you so long?"

If you haven't already, I suggest you read Marc's whole series on startups.  They are all to the point and very well written.  And, he knows from experience.

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