September 16th, 2010
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I hadn’t just lost a potential advisor I had lost an irreplaceable opportunity. We lost him not just over a stock offer. We lost him because we had treated him as a commodity – something that was readily available from multiple sources – and that you could negotiate its price.
In reality what I had in front of me was an opportunity – a favorable combination of circumstances that rarely occurs and if seized upon would have given me an advantage.
You treat commodities and opportunities radically differently.
Founding CEO’s are supposed to search for a repeatable business model, not just blindly execute their original plan. That requires you to identify opportunities and seize the day. Opportunities are not just about sales, marketing or product. In this case it was about a resource I had in my hands and let go of.
I had acted like an employee, not as a founder and certainly not as the CEO of a startup. I had let my board tell me that the opportunity I saw was a commodity that could be managed by a spreadsheet. And I didn’t stand up for what I had believed in.