VC Cliche of the Week

This week I am going to make fun of a commonly heard VC cliche.

I’ve been in quite a few board meetings over the years when things aren’t going so well and the Board goes into executive session (a code word for kicking the management out of the meeting). 

I should stop and say that executive sessions are good things for Boards to do, but let’s just call a spade a spade, they are designed to let the Board talk without management in the room.

Once the management is out of the room, someone, usually one of the VCs says, "What we need in this company is a world class CEO".

I used to sit there and agree.  But I’ve come to realize a number of things about the "myth of the world class CEO" as Jerry calls it.

1 – There isn’t such a thing as a world class CEO
2 – If there were, they’d be interviewing for the CEO job at Disney, not your little piss ant company
3 – A world class CEO isn’t going to fix a bad investment
4 – Many "hired managers" are good at operating but lack the passion, drive, and vision that founders/entrepreneurs bring to the table
5 – I’ve seen more world class CEOs (who weren’t world class or CEOs) screw up companies than founder/entrepreneurs

The next time I am in that executive session and someone uses that world, I am going to jump across the table and strangle them.  Then I am going to bring the management back into the room and tell them that we need some help, some "A students" to keep the trains running on time and support the "B students" that got us into this mess.

As to who has what title, that’s an important factor and time will tell what’s right, but really its about building a group of talented people that can function as a team and get the job done. 

There are no silver bullets in building a company.