Many people have the misconception that if they have a great idea, they will become the next Mark Zuckerberg, with a multibillion dollar company. This is often referred to as Zuckerberg syndrome. However, the reality is that this is not an average outcome from a startup.
Many founders are reluctant to come to terms with this, and they often drive their startups into the ground waiting out for the “bid acquisition” or breakthrough. Realistically speaking, there are tons of social networks, to use this genre as a specific. There are really only two founders that have made billions; Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook and David Karp from Tumblr. The latter only made $1.1 billion from its acquisition to Yahoo.
A startup needs a founder that understands clearly, that although they have a great idea, they may not make it as big as Zuckerberg did. This founder needs to be very realistic about their options as well; consult with the rest of the team and make sure that they may not make as much as they want, and gear towards an exit by acquisition if its more lucrative. Many founders believe in their project until the end, and reject selling options only to end up with nada.
This does not suggest that founders should not believe in their products or projects, but be realistic about them. Also, there are two types of founders. Those that are in it for a profit, and those that are in it for a profit, and genuinely are passionate about the project.
The first of these two, will look to sell to the highest bidder. And that’s okay if that’s what the team is aiming for. The latter of the two, will try to sell to a company that will see the project to its highest level of fruition; even if that means taking less money for it.
And as many startups have more than one founder, the initial team needs to ensure they know who their founders are, and that they are all on the same page.
Ah, the CEO. Many founders again make the mistake of thinking that they are entitled to be CEO, because they thought of the idea. This could not be further from the truth. A responsible founder will appoint a person that can bring talent into the company and make people want to be a part of the project; including investors. The founder is not always qualified to do this job.
There are usually two types of CEOs needed:
- The initial stage CEO
- The progressive stage CEO
The first of the two, is the person appointed during the initial stages of the startup, to raise capital and expand their talent base.
The second type of CEO is usually appointed after the startup has reached their first stage of comfortable funding and a solid team, if the initial CEO does not stay in place. Sometimes the first CEO can stay on and continue the job; but when they don’t, then the new person comes on to breed the progression of the startup. Their job is to expand services, more talent, and partnerships and bring the startup to full company level.
Every tech startup needs a qualified founding developer that can code like a guru and build up a solid product. This person can be one of the founders that happens to be a coder, however, unless the founder is immaculate at his or her job, they should not be the sole founding developer.
The whole purpose of this concept is for founders to come to terms with the concept that they should not be the “founding person” for any particular job, just because they founded the company, unless they fit the qualified criteria. This does not mean that they should be left out. Instead they can view it as every person has a place and a job to do.
- Let the developer code
- Let the CEO be lively and draw attention to the company
- And let the founders have a solid concept of the product THEY’D like to see, and relay that to the rest of the team.
Essentially the founder is needed, to tell the CEO what to market, and to give the developer an idea of what they want; otherwise they’re flying blind; so be a good captain, if you can’t be anything else. Do not try to be a bird if you know you have a broken wing and can’t fly as well as another bird can.
The designer is needed to design a product interface based upon what the customers may want to see. The developer needs their guidance, and the designer needs the founders’ guidance. The CEO can then present the finished product.