Even when they stop getting the desired results, founders keep pressing that button, hoping the inscrutable machine starts working again.
Seriously, I can’t hammer this one home enough. Just. Fucking. Take. The. Call.
In startup land, we like to tell ourselves a bedtime story that it’s all a meritocracy and we’re strictly about finding the best people. Hacker News is filled with comments like “who cares what race or gender they are; just pick the best people.” If only it were that easy, my little brogrammer.
As CEOs and product owners, we are effectively outsourced team members, contract force accelerators. Yet more often than not, we act like clueless employees, sleepwalking through the day, hoping that our actions align with our employer’s goals or, at worst, praying we don’t fuck up enough to be noticed.
Here’s a simple rule to follow: If an airline pilot wouldn’t do it the night before a long-haul flight, don’t do it as a founder. No getting drunk, no staying up until 3 am, no crappy midnight snacks. As a favorite children’s book once put it, just go the fuck to sleep.
CEOs often forget that their company exists solely to solve the problems of their customers. And while “focus on customers,” isn’t a step only to be taken during an apocalypse, it has outsized importance when everything around us is changing.