The skill set that it takes for a company to go from zero to $10 million is tremendously different from the skillset that takes it from $10 million to a billion. There are multiple chapters to it. I’m sure there are people who have studied this more than me that understand how many different chapters there really are between zero and a billion but I can think of multiple deals I’m involved with now as an example.
One of my most successful deals is not being run by the founder because he just isn’t capable of operating the company at the scale and size it’s reached. We put in more seasoned CEO in place, and the company totally exploded. The company literally would have been out of business under the founder’s watch, but now it’s on it’s way to becoming a substantially large business with millions of dollars of value.
And to be totally honest, I’m not even sure if I should run a company that big. I could probably run a $500 million company, but once you get into the billions territory, you start to encounter different kinds of dynamics. You have to know what you’re good at. A blanket statement that says “the founder should always be running things” is too much.
As a matter of fact, I would argue that they most likely shouldn’t be running their companies at that size.
With that being said, I just want to add that it’s been very impressive from afar to watch Ben Silverman and Zuckerberg run their companies from start to that valuation. It obviously can be done but there are more stories of it not.
Image credit: CC by John Morgan