Thursday, October 29, 2015

Asking for a Kinder, Gentler Startup Environment.
Thursday, October 29, 2015

Asking for a Kinder, Gentler Startup Environment.

Crown Movers. Absolutely excellent - and completely unrelated to restructurings in a company

When it happens, you'll go through the shock, upset, anger, depression and finally resignation. Coming to the conclusion that this is inevitably the path of a "successful" startup as it full fills it's promise to its investors.

You've just been made redundant in a restructuring of the company as it readies itself to make the nirvana step of going public.

The reason is that the org chart had to look just so. Adaptable people who had done multiple roles in the company no longer need to apply. Out with the old, in with the new.

What had once been the colorful, hip, everybody-bleeds-[insert company]-[insert company color] startup up vibe makes way for those that are hired by the investors to make good on the promise of shareholder value.

No longer needed are the "athletes" and "green berets" suitable for all adaptable and flexible challenges, here come the specialist. Some of them seemingly make a career of coming in a year or two to ride the IPO rocket and then move on to the next almost pre-IPO company.

So what is the playbook?

1. Hire a proper CMO ("Chief Marketing Officer"), preferably one that has sold a dozen companies or so. Some will call him "tough"; other may use the term "a-hole," but he'll call into question others in the organization.

2. Bring in a big time CTO. He won't be an inspirational leader. It'll be rule the engineers by fear and intimidation. Despite the intense pressure to produce and the universal hatred of their leader, employee satisfaction surveys will inevitably talk about how it's the greatest place to work.

3. Recruit a killer sales leader. They'll talk about their last 5 million dollar deal done on the back of a napkin. There's a big talk about "accountability" and moving out under-performing reps. Most of the "killing" is the internal kind, where sales turnover is welcome. This Sales Leader also brings in "his guys," and though the new folks don't understand the customer or product, they have the bona fides from a big Corporate.

Add in politics that would make Machiavelli cringe and other executives that are just trying to hold on until D-Day, and then, voila! Company goes public, investors celebrate. Many of the remaining (and ex-) employees make a nice bonus, and many yearn about for the days of early times where it was truly "Is it Work, If You Love It?"

In the end, does anyone have that bitter after taste from the nectar of sweet success called an initial public offering?