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So you've started a company. Do you deserve to be CEO ?

Keith Tan
February 6, 2017

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So you've started a company.  Do you deserve to be CEO? Now what matters is its continued prosperity — anything that stands in the way of this must go.  Even if it’s you, the founder.


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Sounds tough?  Get used to it, because entrepreneurship is a treacherous game.  

It's tough on you, tough on your people and tough on your enemies. Who are your enemies? Anyone who threatens your business. You have to take them on, whether they’re a fresh-faced intern or a sly former employee trying to make a quick buck.
We had an intern recently: a young chap looking to add some time at a start-up to his CV. At $800 a month, interns can be cheap labour, but as I’ve written before, they can also kill your company. We took the risk anyway, but quickly found out that he didn’t have anything to contribute — he was late and even wanted ‘time off’ on his first day. How long was his ‘career’ at Wonderlabs then? 1 day. I kid you not; it’s almost a legendary story at our company.

Would you have had the guts to do that? Or would you have ‘talked to him’ and wasted another $40 a day trying to nurture him for the workforce? Because if you choose the latter, then you should give up your cushy CEO chair right now. Step aside for someone who’s willing to make the tough decisions that will take your company forward.

So you've started 3.png At networking sessions, I see plenty of CEOs who don’t deserve their positions. They aren’t the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing, but the little-heard-of sheep dressed as wolves. They lack the ruthlessness needed to quell disturbances, and excise tumors from within, and fight back against the invading hordes from outside.

As Cato cajoled: Carthago delenda est — Carthage must be destroyed. And if you don’t have the guts to do it, get off the throne.


For more insights, check out my other posts.  

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