Accused of Doing Too Much

One year after we sold Pardot I was at an event with a venture capitalist that had passed on investing in Pardot at a $7 million valuation. We were catching up and I joked with him that he could have had a great return if they hadn’t passed on investing (we didn’t raise any money for the business). He stopped, looked up, and said, “You know, the reason we passed is because we felt you were doing too much having Shotput Ventures (an accelerator program), Hannon Hill (my first company), and Pardot.” Not having heard that before, I agreed that it seemed like a lot but that it was my style — I like to stay busy.

Thinking about it some more, a few thoughts come to mind:

  • My ability to do multiple things is primarily driven by surrounding myself with great people who are self-starting
  • The CEO’s job is to set the vision, build a great team, and ensure there’s enough money in the bank to execute — sometimes that takes 60 hours in a week and sometimes that takes 20 hours in a week
  • As the startup grows and key people are hired for key positions, the amount of must-do day-to-day responsibilities lessen (there’s still plenty to do, only it’s easier to work on the business instead of in it)
  • Doing too much implies doing some things poorly, and that doesn’t have to be the case
  • The old adage “if you want something done, find a busy person” still holds true

Today, I routinely get comments that I must be overloaded with all my activities and initiatives. My response: I’m not overloaded because of all the great people I work with and I don’t feel like I’m doing too much — the key is the people.

What else? What are some more thoughts on being accused of doing too much?

8 thoughts on “Accused of Doing Too Much

  1. I’m regularly accused of doing too much. I have this habit of starting many new ventures at once. My difference is that I, roughly half the time, don’t finish what I start. I find this to be okay, since those things I don’t finish are due to them not interesting me enough. But I ensure not to invest too much in the ways of time or money in new activities until I know I want to really make it a project.

    I think your philosophy of great people making it possible to do a lot more is excellent. I’ll have to remember that for the future.

  2. Of course it could be that investor simply didn’t see it and blew the opportunity. Wonder what excuses he has for other missed opportunities?

    Investors who started and ran companies have more credibility than those who have not.. maybe he was a former category but his reason seemed thin.

    And his fund had multiple investments just like your time and energy.

    Ironic isn’t it?

  3. I find that sometimes the folks who accuse others of doing too much or being too busy are the same folks who are unsure if their own passions and desires. Their lack of self-reflection comes across in a backhanded way they are sometimes unaware of. I have been guilty of doing too much. I felt it in my spirit – feeling tired, burnt out, and lacking drive to continue doing it much longer. I still have a lot on my schedule but now it is with things about which I am passionate and excited. And that makes all the difference! Great thoughts! Thanks for sharing!

  4. It’s the most common fault for entrepreneurs that I find, trying to do too much, diluting your effectiveness and not being focused enough. Personally, I wouldn’t invest in a startup where the CEO isn’t 100% focused and dedicated to the initiative. It’s fine if you are on your own, personal funding but a tough road to justify for a investors. You are one of the few people I know who does a great job at this, but in my mind this is very unique. I am going to be that if you did ficus, you would be even more successful, if that is possible. Bootstrap to NoVC!

  5. If the CEO can’t find a way to provide value for min. 40 hours a week there’s something seriously wrong. I can’t imagine investing in a company with a 20 hour per week CEO.

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