Dear SaaStr: Can a CEO be Late To Almost Everything?

As CEO, I was basically never late.

This year, for the, we had perhaps ~150 CEOs speak. Some of the very best in SaaS. CEOs of Atlassian, Box, Slack, Blackline, Qualtrics, The Trade Desk, Coupa, Algolia, Intercom, Trello, Guidewire, and many more:

  • Therese Tucker, the #1 rated speaker, CEO of IPO’d Blackline, was 1 hour early.
  • Stewart Butterfield was on time, and was kind enough to stay after for cake to celebrate Slack’s birthday.
  • Michael Cannon-Brookes was early, and carried all his own stuff in.
  • Aaron Levie was there in plenty of time, and caught up with one of his old VPs before going on stage.

How many of these very, very successful CEOs were late? 2 of 150. And these 2 were just a smidge late. Their sessions were still on time. They were out-of-towners and probably a bit lost.

So there you go.

CEOs are all in sales, one way or another. Especially in B2B/SaaS. They know in a sale, you show up early / on time out of respect for the deal.

And they know that important meetings that don’t start on time set a tone for a lack of discipline that makes things harder than they need to be.

This isn’t necessarily the same as being “late to the office”. As CEO, you define when your day starts. You set the cadence. But it’s kind of similar to being late to anything that matters.


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