As part of the TechStars For a Day speaker series, I gave this talk about an oft-asked topic. We all (think we) know what the CTO or technical co-founder does, in the world of startups and internet wunderkinds. But, many wonder, “What does the non-value-add CEO/Product person DO?!?”
This master’s thesis, years in the making, helps to illuminate all that is wonderful about the non-technical-member of the startup wonder twin pairing.
Speaker Notes / Details of slides (they roughly match)
Dave Schappell – Founder/CEO – TeachStreet.com
1) Product Backlog / Definition (prioritization, shiny-object-mgmt, specs, mockups, copywriting, emails, …)
2) Product Research / Customer Service (meetings, surveys, customer feedback, issue mgmt, …)
3) Operations-HR/Legal (office, legal/incorporation, accounting/check-writing, payroll, patents/TMs, TOS/Privacy)
4) Endless Networking and Sales, for everything (recruiting, fundraising, bus dev, sales, publicity)
5) Operations-Finance (Fundraising, Debt-procurement)
6) Interviewing, on-boarding paperwork, perf rvws (PIPs/firing), weekly team mtgs, offsites, entertainment/morale
7) Contracts/Negotiator, for everything
8) Program Manager
9) Q&A / Bug-filing/testing/resolving
10) Marketing (SEO education, SEM, BD ptrship setup & mgmt, emails/ESP, twitter, facebook, blog, PR mgmt (press releases, outreach, contests, …),
11) Metrics (GA / internal / operational), Chartbeat-Monitoring/Weblabbing/Testing
12) Investor Mgmt/Board meetings (monthly financials/projections, updates, presentations, cap tables, 409A)
13) Success is just Failure repeated often enough
14) Hard Word… get ready for it (from Mark Suster blog):
– The Harder I Work, The Luckier I get
– The problem with success, is that it’s often disguised as hard work
– It’s always what I think now when somebody who doesn’t go the extra mile thinks everything comes easy to you. If ur a tech startupper I know u know what I mean. Just closed your $5M round & everybody around you’s thinking they could have done it. But they weren’t there in 2009 when you were up late nights shitting yourself whether you really were smart for pursuing this idea. That was back when VCs weren’t so quick to respond to emails.
– Nothing comes easy. There are few overnight successes in life. The best companies struggle – just not publicly. And the harder we work, the luckier we get. Good hard work to you all.