Competition

Why Are Those Founder/CEOs So Snooty? Because They are All Failing

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Jason Lemkin

Before EchoSign’s acquisition, I’d often meet other founder CEOs at non-industry events.  I’d tell them where I worked, and they’d tell me about their start-up, which maybe I’d heard of, maybe I hadn’t.  About half the time, they were pretty snooty.

At the time, I just figured maybe they were just doing so darn well, they could afford to be snooty.  Or snotty, whichever it is.  In any event — More power to them!  Next …

Since then, one way or another, I’ve seen all their revenues, and I learned something.

The generous CEOs — some are doing well.  Some aren’t.  But the snooty CEOs are all failing, one way or another.  A lot have been fired, or quit.  Or shut down their POS start-up.

Which isn’t to say the generous CEOs are always pleasant.  Some are for sure.  Some are arrogant, and/or maniacal.  But the great CEOs don’t seem to ever be Snooty.

One great example I can think of is Marc Benioff and Salesforce.com.  As a partner, Salesforce was often very hard to work with.  But I can remember one time when I had a real issue with something at Salesforce.  I emailed Benioff, and within 60 minutes I had an answer from him — while he was in Hawaii — with action around it.  The answer itself, a bit imperfect from my perspective.  But handling it in 60 minutes from Hawaii himself while running a now $60 billion company?  A class act — the opposite of Snooty.

Mark Zuckerberg. When the chips are down, and the VCs are selling left and right, what does he do?  Locks himself (his stock) up for another year.  The opposite of Snooty.

So, skip the snoots.  Don’t let the turkeys get you down.  And dress for success.  Act like the CEO or exec you want to be.

{P.S. Turns out same goes for VCs.  Skip the snooty ones.}

Published on September 6, 2012
  • Jason, this a great, short OpEd on the importance of being an open human being, not steeped in one’s ego to the point that its all about ME and to hell you You as it were. I’ve had very similar experiences with Marc B myself and agree with your observation. In the end we need to be a lot more interested and inclusive of other people (execs, CEO’s what-have-you) and a lot less exclusive (not the right height, size, color, education), I am always interested in hearing what other start-up execs are doing to grow and thrive, as a CEO of a smal start up I have so much to learn each and every day.

  • Jim Scott

    Love it. Exactly right.

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