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?