Haha I wrote about this too. 🙂 http://fd2015.hbs.org/submission/what-do-you-mean-by-success/
I wonder how much of the “male hubris-female humility effect” is reinforced by societal norms beyond ourselves. E.g., studies that show that women politicians who people perceive as seeking power are penalized by voters, but male politicians are not (http://psp.sagepub.com/content/36/7/923). Similarly, female CEOs who talk more are considered less competent and less capable leaders, but male CEOs are not (http://asq.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/02/28/0001839212439994.full.pdf). In this light, until these forces change it may be actually very rational, though unfair, that women would choose to be overly humble, as they are penalized for showing confidence.
“When VCs remove a founding CEO, they are often removing the individual with the clearest vision for what the company’s product is and can be. They are implicitly trading off product in favor of operations. That tradeoff may be a good one when a product is highly stable and execution is the biggest barrier a company faces; however, the truly great companies that consistently win in big markets rarely do so simply by executing on a stable product.”
It’s hard to say, I think. Unfortunately, some of the people with the best product vision can be the worst at other parts of the business that are really, really important early on; from past observation I’d say some examples of fatal weaknesses for product visionary founders are the inability to build a company culture that retains talent, the inability to hire the right people for the team, or the inability to relinquish control. I don’t disagree that product vision is enormously valuable, but I have to say, there’s a lot of times when I’ve thought booting the founder-CEO would be the right choice.
“If I had a nickel for how many times I’ve been told “startups are hard”, I’d have…well, probably just a few bucks. Which may be enough money to buy Joost. Or Color. Or SearchMe. Or Homejoy. Or Cuil. Or Pay By Touch. Or any of the other 90% startups that are destined to fail.”
So true. I firmly believe that the startup route, as hot as it is at the moment, is truly not as glamorous as it sounds, and I say that as someone who worked in startups and still plans to! There are actually so many things that you give up, and risks that you take on, that I advise anyone who’s thinking about making the leap to ask themselves 2 questions: 1) Why do you want to work in startups? and 2) Why aren’t those things you can’t easily find anywhere else? And if you don’t choose to go to startup land, it absolutely doesn’t mean you must be a coward–you may be making what is really the smarter choice, because there are a lot of Colors and Cuils in the future.
I love this. Not only a really clever and entertaining way to frame your blog post (a la relationship advice column), but genuinely great content too! As someone who wouldn’t mind finding a partner for my own project I’m working on for my IP, it occurs to me that out of the 3 paths you have outlined here, the best option for me is probably #1–finding a partner to work with on my IP might be really helpful for understanding who I could work well with in the future. Should probably think about that more. 🙂