This is me speaking at the 2016 Fearless conference.

Be a leader, not a founder

The truest goal for starting a company is to grow it to a stronger place of stability.

To battle a generational low point in business incorporation, we’ve built a solid drumbeat celebrating entrepreneurship. To complement this charge, we need a serious dialogue about transitioning founders into leaders, from the one who started a company to the one who is growing it.

As a cofounder of 25-person publishing company Technically Media who has interviewed hundreds of founders and CEOs along the way, I am experiencing this transition myself. To give yourself the best shot at success in business, you must know what your goals are. One of them should be looking for opportunities to make this transition from founder to leader.

That was the focus of a lecture and workshop I led at the second annual Fearless Conference, held by the precocious Melissa Alam, who has developed a wonderful community of (mostly) young women aspiring to build businesses of their own. Below I share my slides, some notes and reaction to my talk.

Here are my slides, during which I listed situations in which I’ve found myself changing behaviors from how I started as a founder to where I am now a leader. In many of these circumstances, I made clear that I don’t think I have this mastered. I’m personally still learning and wanted to share.

A few notes:

  • My point is not that being a founder or a leader are mutually exclusive or better or worse, but rather they represent a general portion of a spectrum of a company’s development. I find it to be a helpful construct about understanding this.
  • I wrote about balancing “climate” and “weather” here.

And now some social reaction: