Jun 13 2004

CEO, Party of Two

We spent the weekend in Hudson, New York, a charming, urban-renewing town about two hours north of the city. My cousins Michael & Marianne opened a wine store called Hudson Wine Merchants on the main drag in town, Warren Street (343 Warren St. to be exact, you should definitely check it out if you’re ever in Hudson).

The store opened for the first time Friday evening, and we had the first full day on Saturday. Mariquita and I, and some other friends of Michael & Marianne’s, helped do everything from stock the shelves, to clean the windows, to use the price tag gun (fun!), to work the register and the very fickle POS software, to watch my cousin’s daughter as she rode her tricycle through the store. It was fun but exhausting. It inspired a few different postings here, which I’ll work on in the coming days.

The first thought I had is that being CEO of a two-person company has a lot in common with being CEO of a 200-person company, or, I imagine, a 20,000-person company:

– You worry incessantly about keeping your customers happy and providing a great customer experience and the right product

– You have numbers running in the back of your head all the time. How much are you selling? At what margin? Are you making money?

– You work your ass off and frequently put business first in order to see it succeed

– You think about the little things, the big things, everything, 24 hours a day

Obviously, there are many differences between running a two-person company and running a much larger organization as well; of course, the biggest is managing, developing, and worrying about lots of employees’ welfare. But it struck me that there are more similarities than meet the eye.