Why did Jason M. Lemkin change his point of view on the value of a COO for an early stage startup?

I try to work with (and invest in) CEOs that are better than me.

I found, when I was a SaaS CEO, that the CEOs that complained about needed a COO early, that it was too hard (which it is), etc. … they all failed or came up way short.

I felt part of your core job as CEO was to assemble a management team, not complain about how you couldn’t get it all done. Or didn’t want to do sales. Or couldn’t stand your CTO.

I still believe this. When I hear a CEO want to not deal with a functional area anymore that isn’t yet built out, that’s a big flag.

But …

I didn’t fully get how complex it all gets after $10m-$20m ARR if you really want to go big.

I still believe a CEO should “do it all” in terms of building a decent management team first before hiring a COO. She should hire leaders for Sales, Marketing, Engineering, Product and Customer Success, or at least most of them.

But now, I see that if you can hire a COO as soon as possible after that, you can scale faster. Hiring a strong COO between Management Team 1.0 and Management 2.0 is one of the top ways to help all of us scale faster.

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Published on May 28, 2018

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