Dear SaaStr: How Can You Tell if Someone is Going To Be a Phenomenal CEO?

Having now worked with a few dozen SaaS CEOs who are much better CEOs than I ever was, I think I can boil it down to 2 characteristics:

  • They can see the future, and
  • They have the ability to recruit and build the teams to get there.

The best founders, at least by the time they have 50–100 customers, can see at least several years into the future. They know where the markets are going, where their competitors are weak and strong, and they can basically answer almost any question about their markets you can throw at them. And importantly, when they don’t know the answer, they always tell you they don’t.

But that’s not quite enough. You also need to be able to recruit the team to help you achieve the vision. Recruiting is hard. But if by $500k or $1m in revenue or so, they have recruited 1 or 2 great folks to the team … then you can bet they can recruit 10 or 20, and later, 100, and even 1000.

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