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What’s the second job of a startup CEO?  ↦

Most startup founders get stuck in their first job as a CEO. The key to getting past developing a good product and achieving product-market-fit is to develop a good company. As noted in this recent episode of Founders Talk with Isaac Schlueter, and this post from Ali Rowghani the CEO of Y Combinator Continuity, getting the company part is hard.

Your first creation is a product, your second creation is a company.

A Phase 1 startup CEO is the Doer-in-Chief. You must be deeply involved in both building the product and acquiring users/customers. A CEO’s first job is to build a great product and find a small group of people who love it and use it enthusiastically.

As a Phase 2 CEO, you need to transition from “Doer-in-Chief” to “Company-Builder-in-Chief.” This is how you scale as a CEO, and CEO scaling is the first step in company-building. For most founders, this is very difficult. When you’ve been a successful Doer-in-Chief, it’s hard to stop.


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