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As the reluctant CEO of a company, I find myself asking this question ALL the time. Most start up/ early stage companies are driven by the passion and energy of the Founder/CEO; my company is one of the exceptions. My company is pushing forward based on the strength of the business opportunity, on compelling patented IP, on unique and differentiated market position, and, to a lesser extent, the greed and desperation of the investors. As one of those greedy and desperate investors, I have been searching, for the better part of two years, to find a management team that shares my level of urgency, energy level, and commitment to excellence. I have not been successful. Instead, I have acted as chief cook and bottle washer – - literally eating, breathing, and sleeping this business…usually with little or no support from others.

At Harvard Business School, we learned that this should be a problem with a solution: find one or more professionals with a track record of success, and create an incentive scheme to share upside. Get people vested in the success or failure of this venture! My conclusion…its really hard to find and hire entrepreneurs!! These folks are either chasing their own rainbows, uncomfortable working within constraints of an existing business plan/ model, or not suited to report to board of directors. Instead I have found a series of folks looking for a job…a paycheck with some equity upside, a last bite at the apple for a semi-retired “company man (or woman)”, or an odd assortment of misfit toys. How do I find my knight in shining armor, to save me from the burden of being the MAN?

Hey all of you square pegs out there! I’ve got a great square hole with your name written all over it!! Tell me why you will be the reason that my company succeeds, Tell me to get out of your way. Tell me that you’ve got it covered.

 

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