I’ve published two editions of Startup CEO, a sequel called Startup CXO, and am a co-author on the second edition of Startup Boards.
You’re only a startup CEO once. Do it well with Startup CEO, a “master class in building a business.”
—Dick Costolo, Partner at 01A (Former CEO, Twitter)
Being a startup CEO is a job like no other: it’s difficult, risky, stressful, lonely, and often learned through trial and error. As a startup CEO seeing things for the first time, you’re likely to make mistakes, fail, get things wrong, and feel like you don’t have any control over outcomes.
As a Startup CEO myself, I share my experience, mistakes, and lessons learned as I guided Return Path from a handful of employees and no revenues to over $100 million in revenues and 500 employees.
Startup CEO is not a memoir of Return Path’s 20-year journey but a CEO-focused book that provides first-time CEOs with advice, tools, and approaches for the situations that startup CEOs will face.
How to tell your story to new hires, investors, and customers for greater alignment How to create a values-based culture for speed and engagement How to create business and personal operating systems so that you can balance your life and grow your company at the same time How to develop, lead, and leverage your board of directors for greater impact How to ensure that your company is bought, not sold, when you exit
Startup CEO is the field guide every CEO needs throughout the growth of their company and the one I wish I had.
“Startup CXO is an amazing resource for CEOs but also for functional leaders and professionals at any stage of their career.”
– Scott Dorsey, Managing Partner, High Alpha (Former CEO, ExactTarget)
One of the greatest challenges for startup teams is scaling because usually there’s not a blueprint to follow, people are learning their function as they go, and everyone is wearing multiple hats. There can be lots of trial and error, lots of missteps, and lots of valuable time and money squandered as companies scale. My team and I understand the scaling challenges—we’ve been there, and it took us nearly 20 years to scale and achieve a successful exit. Along the way we learned what worked and what didn’t work, and we share these lessons learned in Startup CXO.
Unlike other business books, Startup CXO is designed to help each functional leader understand how their function scales, what to anticipate as they scale, and what things to avoid. Beyond providing function-specific advice, tools, and tactics, Startup CXO is a resource for each team member to learn about the other functions, understand other functional challenges, and get greater clarity on how to collaborate effectively with the other functional leads.
CEOs, Board members, and investors have a book they can consult to pinpoint areas of weakness and learn how to turn those into strengths. Startup CXO has in-depth chapters covering the nine most common functions in startups: finance, people, marketing, sales, customers, business development, product, operations, and privacy. Each functional section has a “CEO to CEO Advice” summary from me on what great looks like for that CXO, signs your CXO isn’t scaling, and how to engage with your CXO.
Startup CXO also has a section on the future of executive work, fractional and interim roles. Written by leading practitioners in the newly emergent fractional executive world, each function is covered with useful tips on how to be a successful fractional executive as well as what to look for and how to manage fractional executives.
A comprehensive guide on creating, growing, and leveraging a board of directors written for CEOs, board members, and people seeking board roles.
The first time many founders see the inside of a board room is when they step in to lead their board. But how do boards work? How should they be structured, managed, and leveraged so that startups can grow, avoid pitfalls, and get the best out of their boards? Authors Brad Feld, Mahendra Ramsinghani, and Matt Blumberg have collectively served on hundreds of startup and scaleup boards over the past 30 years, attended thousands of board meetings, encountered multiple personalities and situations, and seen the good, bad, and ugly of boards.
In Startup Boards: A Field Guide to Building and Leading an Effective Board of Directors, the authors provide seasoned advice and guidance to CEOs, board members, investors, and anyone aspiring to serve on a board. This comprehensive book covers a wide range of topics with relevant tips, tactics, and best practices, including:
- Board fundamentals such as the board’s purpose, legal characteristics, and roles and functions of board members;
- Creating a board including size, composition, roles of VCs and independent directors, what to look for in a director, and how to recruit directors;
- Compensating, onboarding, removing directors, and suggestions on building a diverse board;
- Preparing for and running board meetings;
- The board’s role in transactions including selling a company, buying a company, going public, and going out of business;
- Advice for independent and aspiring directors.
Startup Boards draws on the authors’ experience and includes stories from board members, startup founders, executives, and investors. Any CEO, board member, investor, or executive interested in creating an active, involved, and engaged board should read this book—and keep it handy for reference.