As I’ve mentioned previously, the role of the CEO is easy when everything is working well – it’s easy to lead when there’s plenty of money in the bank, hiring is easy and effortless, and product development is humming along ahead of schedule.
This, of course, is not exactly how companies work, especially early-stage ventures that are just trying to get off the ground.
When you start a new venture you first start in a season of experimentation, where you’re trying to figure out what resonates and what folks really want and need.
If you’re (extremely) lucky then your first few experiments prove out and you’re off to the races, iterating quickly to expose and take advantage of the incoming feedback from early users who are fanatical enough to stick around.
If it’s working then you, the CEO, might feel tempted to take the credit and act like a fucking hero, an obvious paragon of what it takes to be amazing – you were born to do this!
Except, that’s not how we feel at all, ever… at least in my experience. You see, when things are going well I get pretty paranoid and if I’m not careful I’ll start meddling.
Sometimes there aren’t signals of success or failure, there won’t be any guideposts or signs that will tell you if you’re on the right track or not. Your gut, despite how “experienced” it might be, will always be your gut, an instinct that is trustworthy to a point.
Lean too heavily into it and you’ll be making up stuff but ignore it for too long and you’ll implode. What’s the balance?
Who knows? Because, astrology.