Dear SaaStr: What Do I Do When My CEO Is Destroying My Startup?

You quietly, and respectfully, move on.

It can be tempting to want to “do something” when a CEO is seemingly destroying a startup:

  • You can take it to the board of directors. This happens a lot, actually.  They may listen. But it’s unlikely they will do anything.
  • You can rally the troops. But they aren’t the boss.  In the end, you’ll likely just create trouble.

There’s no good play here other than moving on. The CEO is the boss, until the board decides otherwise. But they’re the boss.

If you don’t think they’re the right boss, find a better place to work.

You may be right.  They may be running the company into the ground.  But sometimes, also, it’s hard to see the whole story.

Sometimes no matter how messed up things seem, the CEO the company has is its best current option. Oftentimes, any other alternative is worse.

Bear in mind, yes, you can hide fraud fairly easily.  See the FTX debacle.  And this isn’t uncommon.  But in general, investors and boards of directors have seen a lot of startups struggle.  And they know when they want to keep betting on the CEO.  Even if some of the team is less sure.


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