Entrepreneurs don't always make great leaders
When it comes to tech businesses there are three types of people: the founder; the CEO; or the person who does both.
There are some brilliant founders who are the wrong type of person to take the business forward. There are some brilliant CEOs who don’t have it in their DNA to create a disruptive start-up but are the right person to scale it. And, very occasionally, you have somebody who can do both.
Imagine Facebook and Amazon without their founder CEOs Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos respectively.
I meet lots of entrepreneurs in my role at Apadmi Ventures and one observation I’ve made is they’re not always the best people to lead the business going forward.
The problem is when it’s reported that a tech business has parted company with its founder, it’s seen as a negative and that’s the mindset that needs to change.
Let’s start by looking at the entrepreneurs. Not everyone in this world has that flair and vision to come up with a wonderful idea and the ability to be able to do something about it.
That's what makes a great entrepreneur. They think differently and they'll take calculated risks. They’ll come up with an idea to do something that hasn’t been done before.
The better entrepreneurs will have a business model. They’ll have sat down and put numbers against it. If it all stacks up then they’ll be up and running.
What you find is that these wonderful people that can start something are not necessarily the wonderful people that can see it through to completion because you're asking someone to be all things.
They've got to have this creative flair; the ability to take risk and raise investment; they’ve got to have the ability to drive their strategy and be brilliant with people, they've got to be well organised. You're asking someone to do all those things and that’s a big ask.
What I’m finding is that brilliant entrepreneurs aren't necessarily brilliant leaders and they’re stepping away. They can remain as a shareholder and play to their strengths while somebody else can become CEO and drive the business forward.
In a more mature workplace you'd look at everything the business needs to become successful, no egos, and you just get in the right people to do the job that sees you get to the end.
Some entrepreneurs have a shelf life. If someone is brilliant at coming up with business ideas then get them to focus on doing that.
The guys at the dating app JigTalk came up with a brilliant idea and executed it fantastically while Paul Gouge, at Playdemic, is both an exceptional founder and CEO.
Although being a great entrepreneur doesn’t mean you’re a good leader, and vice versa, admitting it shouldn't be seen as a weakness either.
In a grown up world people could be honest and say ‘I’m good at this, but not so good at that’ and we would all play to our strengths.