Hey, Young Startup CEO: Your title is nothing but letters unless…

Business title nowadays are overrated. As we progress and innovate, the creativity with titles go with them as well. But real professionals see right through these and focus on the people under these labels.

Youth could be the future — and they should continue to be. Let’s disregard the age but the maturity building a business. There are successes (indeed!) and pitfalls to some factors that affect a young startup leadership.

This is such a huge relevant topic for me to write as I have been digging deeper into some young startups and their shortcomings, failures, greed and the inability to understand money and virtue.

This is the dirty part of the ‘cool’ tech startup story.

Lack of Vision

This is a behemothic pitfall of anyone who wants to do something without any strategy of what the goals would be like in the next few weeks, months… days. Things change, directions could be skewed along the way but if you keep on ‘fudging it’, that means that you are not fully committed to what you want to do.

Arrogance

One of the best wisdom in this life is to learn that you do not know anything. This allows you to be open to learning: being right and wrong. If all you think that you’re so great and nothing else matters, other people of experience will see right through you.  Then, you fail to recognize your journey working on your startup and embrace the deeper value of this exercise. Some may win, being arrogant, that’s true. But you are miserably hated by everyone around you. The blindness will result to blame others if you encounter any problem. And you may have an unwanted reputation which could make you lose face along the way.

Greed

Most of startups get money from incubators, investors, angels, etcetera. These companies and people do this as business and to push technology forward. I am fortunate to get to know amazing investors who do care and will do their best to help the startups to excel higher. They would do it beyond money and would risk losing rather than doing nothing. It usually came from their own blood, sweat and tears.

So spend their cash properly! Making bold moves and braving it out there is a great key to get results. Aggressiveness in temperance pays back well. You try, they try. If all you could think about is the money that you ‘will’ earn and not to flourish your business altogether, then shame on you. Remember that you are spending other peoples’ money. It is not yours just yet. Be sensible.

I would like to make this work so we could be bought out within a year” – good luck, kid.

Finishing what you started

Commitment, perseverance and responsibility are the true virtues of being a leader. What irks me are those young startups who only think of themselves along the way and leave when the going gets tough. It is deceitful, manipulative and shameful. First of all, they asked for money, they are spending the money that they don’t fully own and at the drop of the hat, leave their own company that they’ve built. Then the reasons are shallow. Irresponsible. Worse, they still think highly of themselves without any pinch of humility.

If you really need to leave, perhaps make a graceful exit. Be helpful. Focus on managing your investors and cofounders, not on monetary means or your shares and equity terms. Show some dignity.

You only have one name. Protect it.

As you move along, your startup may become a success or a failure. If you compose yourself properly and professionally, that is never the end but the beginning of greater opportunities. You build your reputation over time, it never stops. The result of your business does not necessarily reflect on how you are perceived by your peers and the industry as a whole. That is important. So make sure that you live and work with your ethics intact because that is not trainable. It is in you. That goes a long way.

So, straighten up, young CEO. The journey is exciting. Just don’t be too annoying.

_______

“Your reputation is more important than your paycheck, and your integrity is worth more than your career.”

– by Angelo Sotira, deviantART Cofounder

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Bossing around: What is TOO close for comfort, teammate?

Startups, Mentors, Investors and Advisors within their setting tend to have a horizontal organization where everyone talks to everybody directly. No bureaucracy involved, everyone is reachable. Ideas float within everyone and they are all heard [well, most of the time, that’s another subject to write]. If you’re in a tech startup/biz, most likely that you are friends with your superiors on Facebook, follow each other on Twitter [or one of you does], have each other on mobile messengers, connected on LinkedIn and so on. You also tend to have casual beer/meal sessions with them.

But where do you draw the line in terms on how far you could stretch this “closeness”? How does respect play between you and your superior in both ways?

It is a common knowledge that your superiors (or your Chiefs & VPs, mostly) know more of the higher level plans, strategies, demise, challenges, wins than the rest of the team. Because they are supposed to see the bigger, wider picture to drive the entire organization to where they should be. It is not about trust but there are mechanisms within the organization that function as such. Nobody could be the coal to the train as you also need fire for its steam.

It is not a separation but a unified function of a team. With that, respect plays a big role to be working with each other.

You may be “friends” with your superiors, but you also have to leverage that they are your professional colleagues too. If you completely merge both, then you’re on your way to destruction of just and respect for others and yourself. You separate them according to the situation and setting. It is as simple as you nitpick what you may disclose to each other at that certain time that could demoralize or affect each other in the workplace, considering you may be in the middle of a big product release or you are in your boss’ wedding. There is always a danger of crossing the line and fail to get back from the way it was.

Leaders would always like to know more about their individual colleagues — professional and personal as much as they can. They do that as they already know how these are separated yet it is also their jobs to raise up, promote and develop their peoples’ skills to give them a successful career or motivation. Understanding situations from up there is a very valuable possession of a true leader. And they have, methodically, know that this knowledge is a big responsibility on its own.

What I am getting into now is that everybody, in whatever setting, has a responsibility to draw the line not to affect or put somebody else in danger, threat or disrespect. Humans are amazingly flexible in adapting, but online tends to blur that within comforts of common courtesy. Set aside hierarchy, just among your peers.

It is always this principle of going back to basics. Offline behaviour will always play within your online selfdom. They are not a separate entity at all. Your online presence is the extension of who you are offline. And that is now a huge professional consideration about a person to be hired.

So dig deep and consider respect.

_______

A flippant, frivolous man may ridicule others, may controvert them, scorn them; but he who has any respect for himself seems to have renounced the right of thinking meanly of others.

– Johan Wolfgang von Goethe