Attraction to fame is part of our culture. There are dozens of magazines, tv shows, and websites devoted too all things celebrity. This attraction to fame also extends to the business and tech world as well – bringing a household name to your company can instantly elevate the perceived status of your business. All that being said, I personally have a serious problem when anything related to fame creeps into personnel decisions for an early stage company. Too often, when doing a search for a CEO, I have heard the term "rock star" thrown about from many a venture capitalist and entrepreneur. I need a "rock star" CEO that can take us to the next level and bring instant credibility to my company. Trust me, I am all for bringing in a "rock star" executive to run a business but in my mind it all comes down to what one’s definition of a "rock star" is. Is your "rock star" a big name and cover boy on a magazine, key note speaker at many a conference, and a person who happened to catch the Internet wave at the right time and translated that into tremendous financial success? Or is your "rock star" someone that is appropriate for your business, meets all of the job specs in your CEO target profile, possesses leadership skills and experience working at large and small companies helping launch new products into new markets successfully, and has the hunger and passion to work at your company.? If that candidate happens to meet both definitions of "rock star", then you are in great shape. However, if you are making a decision more because of the candidate’s big name than you better think twice. I am not going to go into a full dialogue on the hiring process but I suggest seeing an earlier post where I discuss that coming up with the job specification or target profile is one of the most important things to do before emabarking on any search. Once again, the point I am making here is to not make a hiring decision just on the name of a person but to do it for all of the right reasons. A friend in LA once told me that one of the keys to success in his business was to not get starfu**ed. I suggest the same when it comes to hiring your next CEO or key executive. You are probably better off hiring the CEO who has lots to prove and who is going to be the next "rock star" than one who already is.
Published by Ed Sim
founder boldstart ventures, over 20 years experience seeding and leading first rounds in enterprise startups, @boldstartvc, googlization of IT, SaaS 3.0, security, smart data; cherish family time + enjoy lacrosse + hockeyView all posts by Ed Sim →