187. CEO Has Three Responsibilities

VC Minute
The CEO is responsible for three things: communicate the vision, hire great people, and don't run out of money. But it all boils down to just one thing.

VC Minute – quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better

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Rich Maloy:

This is Rich Maloy with SpringTime Ventures, bringing you the VC Minute, quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better. This week our guest is Eric Marcoullier, and if you missed Eric’s two episodes from last week on shutting down, you’d need to go back and listen to those. In addition, I wanted to be sure that you all got to benefit from Eric’s startup advice.

Eric coaches the first and second times. CEO’s. According to Eric’s website, he has founded at least nine companies. Three of them have sold, one of which IPO’d, and all the rest have apparently failed. And that’s what I love about Eric. He’s not hiding it; he’s not sugarcoating’ it. Here’s the stuff that went, right? Here’s the shit that went wrong. And you know what? He has some great advice for us this week. I’m so excited for you to learn from him as much as I have. But first, I want to thank AVL Growth Partners for supporting the VC minute. Outsourcing your finance and accounting functions is a no-brainer for startups. And you need to work with a firm that specializes in high-growth companies.

Founded in 2009. AVL has fueled the success of over 1,200 early-stage companies. Specializing in raising capital, M&A, financial modeling, scaling, and bringing financial transparency and a disciplined approach to the companies they work with. AVL works seamlessly as a member of your team and has the experience to support both VC-backed and bootstrapped companies. Head to AVLgrowth.com and explore how they can be pivotal to your growth. AVL Growth Partners. Your success. Their expertise.

Eric Marcoullier: 

My name is Eric Marcoulier, and for the last several years, I have been exclusively a startup coach. I started technology companies in 1995 when I dropped out of college to move to San Francisco and put a publishing company online, and I never looked back.

Over the last nearly 30 years, I’ve started a couple of companies that did pretty good. I’ve started a ton of companies that have absolutely imploded. And frankly, I think that almost everything that I know about starting companies isn’t because of the successes that I’ve had. In most cases, somebody else took the company across the finish line and had great success. I just know how to fuck companies up. And so I, through my coaching, look at the things that I generally did wrong and help people identify those things that they might be doing before it’s too late.

One of the things that I always go back to with the CEOs that I coach is the concept that the CEO has three responsibilities. And I didn’t come up with this. I think I heard it from Dave Cohen over Techstars. He probably heard it from somewhere else. The core idea, right, is the CEO is responsible for three things: communicate the vision, hire great people, and don’t run out of money.

And when you think about that when you are hiring great people, how do you do that as a CEO? Communicate the vision. You talk about the opportunity and the impact on the world. You’re looking for missionaries, not mercenaries. And then, when you’re managing those people, it stems from the vision. Same time when you’re trying to not run out of money, right? That’s 2 things: sales and fundraising. How do you raise capital, especially in the early days? Team and dream. You communicate the vision.

How do you sell, especially in the early days, to customers where you don’t have a brand yet? You communicate the vision. The thing that I really think is hidden in this aphorism is that the CEO doesn’t have three jobs. The CEO has one job. And that is always to start with “why” and then build a cohesive story around that that inspires your team, your investors, and your customers.

About Eric Marcoullier
Eric coaches first- and second-time tech CEOs, keeping their companies alive long enough to get lucky, figure out their business, find product/market fit and replace his ass with someone who knows how to scale companies beyond $5M in ARR. His work primarily involves challenging business assumptions, providing frameworks for new situations and distilling complexity down to basic, actionable ideas. If you’d like to learn more about his coaching, visit www.marcoullier.com or www.linkedin.com/in/bpm140

About AVL Growth Partners
AVL Growth Partners, founded in 2009, is the leading fractional Finance and Accounting firm supporting organizations in pivoting from growth to scale. AVL brings an experienced team of CFOs, Controllers, and Accountants to your organization, delivering transparent, strategic actions for short and long-term success. Transform your financial approach affordably with AVL, supporting companies coast to coast – get to know AVL Growth Partners at avlgrowth.com. (Sponsored)

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