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Why Founders Fail: The Product CEO Paradox | TechCrunch

Why Founders Fail: The Product CEO Paradox | TechCrunch | Management |
This happens all the time. A founder develops a breakthrough idea and starts a company to build it.
StartUP Product's insight:

By Ben Horowitz

Co-founder and partner ofAndreessen Horowitz

Quoting Ben's points:

3 Main Reasons Founders fail to run the companies they created:

  1. founder doesn’t really want to be CEO
  2. board sees CEO making mistakes, panics and replaces them prematurely
  3. Many founders run smack into the Product CEO Paradox

Product CEO Paradox
- Problem: CEO was only world-class at the product, so they effectively transformed themself from an excellent, product-oriented CEO into a crappy, general-purpose CEO
- Preventiongreat product-oriented founder/CEOs stay involved in the product throughout their careers

Product-oriented CEO’s essential involvement consists of at least the following activities:

  • Keep and drive the product vision
  • Maintain the quality standard
  • Be the integrator
  • Make people consider the data they don’t have
How do you back off gracefully in general without backing off at all in some areas?
  • formally structure your product involvement, i.e. transition from your intimately involved motion to a process that enables you to make your contribution without disempowering your team
  • Write it; don’t say it.
  • Formalize and attend product reviews
  • Don’t communicate direction outside of your formal mechanisms

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Rethinking startup a 'pivotal' experience

Rethinking startup a 'pivotal' experience | Management |
It requires emotional detachment yet total passion. It might involve killing a business in order to save it. It's by turns agonizing, rewarding, humbling and empowering.
StartUP Product's insight:
  1. pivoting means doing something differently, often under time constraints as cash and investor patience dwindle.
  2. A pivot could involve changing a product to reach the same target market, going after a different market with the same product or preserving a small piece of existing technology to form an entirely different business.
  3. data will tell you what's not working, but it doesn't tell you what to do instead
  4. Some startups go through multiple transformations. Sometimes the proper course of action is to shut down a startup instead of attempting another pivot
"If you've invested in a business, it's hard to kill it. That's the hardest part of what we do. You'd rather pivot and take advantage of some of your sunk costs, but every once in a while, you realize this is a business that's not good for us."
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Is “system builder” the new founder? An Oxford lecturer’s myth-busting guide to the word entrepreneur

Is “system builder” the new founder? An Oxford lecturer’s myth-busting guide to the word entrepreneur | Management |
Entrepreneurs are often viewed as world-changers that risk it all. But an Oxford lecturer says instead we should refer to them as “system builders".
StartUP Product's insight:

Written By Elaine Jung referencing views by Marc Ventresca, Academic director and economic sociologist at Oxford University

  • System builders have a vision and implement it in complex ways that involve pulling apart what exists, reusing that, re-purposing what is already in place.
  • Ideally, entrepreneurs address a need, and are solving a problem in a value chain of a community or a country or an industry, and that’s a very different image than one of a heroic individual who is motivated by “high risk, high reward”.
  • (Product) Managers in general look at the big picture, narrow it down and get more precise and specific, and follow through with a solution.
More info:

TEDxOxbridge: Marc Ventresca 
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Alicia Dixon, Mobile Product Manager

Alicia Dixon, Mobile Product Manager | Management |
Alicia says, "Participating in as an audience member of the Global Product Management Talk over the last several years has been beneficial in helping me develop as a Product Manager.
StartUP Product's insight:

Alicia Dixon, Mobile Product Manager will join host, Cindy F. Solomon, on Monday, June 24, 2013 at the simultaneous times of 10:00 AM Pacific Time, 11:00 AM MST Denver, 12:00 Noon CST Chicago, and 1:00 PM EST Boston.


Participants are welcome to listen live at, call in to talk on the show (323) 927-2957 and to participate on Twitter by following @ProdMgmtTalk and tweeting using the hashtag #ProdMgmttalk

Questions for Discussion: 
PreQ: Please introduce yourself, where you are tweeting from & your involvement with #prodmgmt #prodmgmttalk

Q1 How did you become a Product Manager?

Q2 What advice do you have for someone who is not currently working in Product Management but wants to get into a Product Manager role?

Q3 What is the best thing about Product Management?  What is the worst?

Q4 Are there any particular books that you would suggest new and aspiring PM’s read?

Q5 What tips do you have for new Product Managers to help them do their jobs effectively?

Q6 What was your biggest mistake as a Product Manager?

Q7 What are your thoughts on the Product Management certifications?

Q8 What fun things have you been working on lately?

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Ed Brill, IBM Exec, Becoming The Social Product Manager

Ed Brill, IBM Exec, Becoming The Social Product Manager | Management |
Social business tools can help product and brand managers to become more engaged, transparent, and agile, leading to better business outcomes. IBM executive Ed Brill discusses IBMs social business journey with host, Cindy F.
StartUP Product's insight:

"Product managers have an incredible opportunity to leverage social business tools, beyond the typical sales and marketing uses in place today. I am looking forward to being on the Global Product Management Talk to expand the understanding of this opportunity to product managers across industries worldwide!" says Ed Brill, Author of "Opting In."


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