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August 1, 2013
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August 22, 2013

Fail to Scale; Dream Team; Product CEO Paradox; VP Marketing; 4th Quarter Strategies Needed

"…keeping you great" 


4th Quarter Rush
— my next


column details 4th quarter strategies (and mistakes) companies make in the
annual mad dash to end the year. More details below, but first…

to Scale

— Ben Horowitz's has written another insightful blog, this one on the three
reasons CEOs fail to scale their business:

  1. The founder
    doesn't really want to be CEO
    – Not every inventor wants to run a company and if you
    don't really want to be CEO, your chances for success will be exceptionally
    low. The CEO skill set is incredibly difficult to master, so without a strong
    desire to do so the founder will fail. If you are a Founder who doesn't want
    to be CEO, that's fine, but you should figure that out early and save yourself
    and everyone else a lot of pain.

  2. The board

    – Sometimes the founder does want to be CEO, but the board sees her making
    mistakes, panics and replaces her prematurely. This is tragic, but common.

  3. The Product
    CEO Paradox

    – Many founders run smack into the Product CEO Paradox.

Ben goes on to explain in depth the Product CEO Paradox:

The only thing
that will wreck a company faster than the product CEO being highly engaged in
the product is the product CEO disengaging from the product.

Please take the necessary 4 minutes to read how this paradox is handled
. As
Ben notes, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, and Mark Zuckerberg all did it
without blowing up their companies – but there are specific steps they took.

…And It Takes a Team

— companies also fail to scale because they are missing a key person on the
executive team. 
just announced their annual business Dream Team along with the
Readers' Choices – worth 2 minutes to look at the results for CEO, COO, CMO,
CIO, etc.

Need VP Marketing?

— a key role critical to scaling the business is the right VP Marketing. Carl
Christenson helped Logical Choice, before the recent buy-out when the new owners
inserted their own team, grow from $17 million to $97 million. Notes Carl, a
long time Rockefeller Habits practitioner, "I'm hoping you may be able to point
me to any potential opportunities with another fast growing company for a senior
marketing executive like myself." Carl comes highly recommended by Cynthia Kaye,
the founder and now Executive Chair of Logical Choice. You can reach Carl at

[email protected]
– he prefers to stay in Atlanta, but can move.

Carl First?

— over the years lots of you have let me know you're dedicated fans of the
Rockefeller Habits and for whatever reason, looking for a new job. Not wanting
to be perceived as a source for poaching employees from clients, I've resisted
listing in my insights. However, in the case where a top talented exec we know
has been displaced because of a buy-out, with the blessing of the CEO/Founder, I
thought it made sense. Would love your input if this is a good or bad idea?

Detention = Entrepreneur

— no surprise here, but male students who exhibit modest rule-breaking behavior
in high school are more likely to be entrepreneurs. So if you have a son
(doesn't apply to daughters) who has been somewhat mischievous at school, in a
non-violent way, then take heart – you might have an entrepreneur on your
90 seconds to read this Fortune article
(and view an interesting
photo of Bill Gates) to understand the nuances of the research.

Quarter Rush

— For my

column, I'm looking for examples of how to make the most of the fourth quarter,
so a company ends the year in a winning position. How have you made sure that
your team keeps focusing on company goals, instead of giving up too early as the
year winds down? Has anyone on our team pulled off a Hail Mary pass at the end
of last year as a result of your efforts to maintain focus? Have you made a big
investment in resources in Q4 — or a tough decision about personnel — instead
of putting it off until January? What have been the results? I'm looking for
specific business strategies that worked for you. Please include your company
name, the city where it is located, what the company does, annual revenues or
number of employees and if it is profitable.


Need help implementing the Rockefeller Habits?

Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish is founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and chaired for fifteen years EO’s premiere CEO program, the “Birthing of Giants” and WEO’s “Advanced Business” executive program both held at MIT. Founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive education and coaching company with over 150 coaching partners on six continents, Verne has spent the past three decades helping companies scale-up. The “Growth Guy” syndicated columnist, he’s also the Venture columnist for FORTUNE magazine. He’s the author of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0); Mastering the Rockefeller Habits; and along with the editors of Fortune, authored The Greatest Business Decisions of All Times," for which Jim Collins wrote the foreword. Verne also chairs FORTUNE Magazine’s annual Leadership and Growth Summits and serves on several boards including chairman of The Riordan Clinic and the newly launched Geoversity. He is an investor in many scale-ups. A father of four, he enjoys piano, tennis, and magic as a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.