Quote to Note: No Delegation Considered

October 2, 2014

I read “Before the Startup.” The genesis of this write up was a lecture for Stanford’s “so you want to be a millionaire” class. Here’s the “official” link.

I have no view of the overall lecture. However, I did note one Google centric quotation. I found it interesting and its suggests the importance of a “key man” even when a company grows to $70 billion and has 50,000 of the world’s smartest people on the payroll. Here it is:

Larry Page may seem to have an enviable life, but there are aspects of it that are unenviable. Basically at 25 he started running as fast as he could and it must seem to him that he hasn’t stopped to catch his breath since. Every day new shit happens in the Google empire that only the CEO can deal with, and he, as CEO, has to deal with it. If he goes on vacation for even a week, a whole week’s backlog of shit accumulates. And he has to bear this uncomplainingly, partly because as the company’s daddy he can never show fear or weakness, and partly because billionaires get less than zero sympathy if they talk about having difficult lives. Which has the strange side effect that the difficulty of being a successful startup founder is concealed from almost everyone except those who’ve done it.

Does this reveal a successful start up wizard’s attitude toward “management”? What about delegation? What about developing a functional command and control system? About whom do we learn from this snippet?

Stephen E Arnold, October 2, 2014


One Response to “Quote to Note: No Delegation Considered”

  1. Kyle Mathews on October 2nd, 2014 12:57 pm

    CEOs are the very last exception handler in a company. Every problem that is obviously in someone else’s domain, they handle it. The problems that get passed up the chain are those that aren’t obviously someone’s problem e.g. they span multiple departments or they’re very new and very important and whatever decision is made would affect significantly the course of the company.

    So any CEO works very hard to delegate responsibilities. But what’s left are the hardest, most perplexing, most soul-crushing ones (“shit” problems in PG’s language) so such is the life of a CEO, day after day of dealing with shit.

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