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Does anyone else feel like an A-hole calling themselves "CEO"?

So the context here is as follows. I've never called myself CEO; I think it's the definition of cringe when someone with what is effectively a bedroom side hustle refers to themselves as CEO.

However, Songbox has taken a few turns in the past few months. I've got some really serious users, not just the one who adorns the homepage on the newly launched .com version of Songbox. He's just the first one so far to allow me to go public with his name.

I also have taken on an investor / partner. So the business is now officially not just me on my own.

Lastly, we are about to be on the receiving end of some government attention; grants and investment etc.

So, as much as it is completely surreal to me, Songbox is kinda becoming a real entity, and the folks around me now are referring to me as CEO - even though I personally don't use that title anywhere. I find it extremely... odd, borderline cringe.

Has anyone experienced this feeling? What alternatives are there? Right now in presentations and in my email signature I just say "Founder".

Cheers

  1. 11

    Aside from the cringey ring to it, a real CEO role also looks nothing like what I do.

    A CEO is the "chief executive" in a company that actually has an executive board to begin with, and most likely several layers of hierarchy underneath that. The role is usually nothing to do with hands-on execution, and more of a top decision maker / momentum creator / bearer of responsibility to shareholders etc. A typical CEO spends their entire day in meetings.

    Me, I just write code and post things on twitter. Personally, I just call myself a founder of a software company.

  2. 5

    Feel the same, I just sign Founder & Software Developer, even though it is a proper business with employees. CEO feels like "look at me I'm such a big deal", I don't take myself that seriously.

    1. 2

      I don't take myself that seriously.

      Exactly how I feel.

  3. 3

    Hell no. For years I've been putting "CEO of Unemployment" or "CTO of Bankruptcy" in my bio on websites just for fun because I was never properly employed.
    Then I had to set up an LLC for my business and guess what it's called?
    I'm officially the CEO of Unemployment LLC, a company of one, I love it.

  4. 3

    Does anyone else feel like an A-hole calling themselves "CEO"

    Yes. Get over it. Do it anyway. There are much more important things to agonize over. :)

  5. 2

    // I think it's the definition of cringe when someone with what is effectively a bedroom side hustle refers to themselves as CEO. //

    Thank You

  6. 2

    I run my company full time, and have an "executive board", but yes it still feels very weird because I only feel like 20% of my job is that of a "real" CEO.

    My attitude is that it's best to embrace it though? At least, if you're putting all your time into it to make it grow, you'll "earn" the title soon enough? I think? 🤣

  7. 2

    In my experience, customers care about who the founders are, not the CEO. Partners care about who the founder are, not the CEO. Investors and bankers care about who the CEO is. Position yourself accordingly for each scenario.

  8. 1

    I know someone who would love this! nice!

  9. 1

    Congrats on your success, Mick!

    Definitely feel the same. As a founder of a start-up started 2 people, we have to do everything necessary to survive and thrive. Not trying to make the company sound bigger than it is, I always add an asterisk explaining that I'm the CEO of a 2 people company!

    Then when things are moving fast, there is little time to worry about other people's perception of a title. 😅

  10. 1

    I feel the same, I prefer calling myself Founder, sounds less pretentious than CEO and more grounded.

  11. 1

    Congrats on the recent success. My opinion: If there's no board of directors for the CEO to report to, there's no internal need for the title. External signalling is more complicated, and maybe in your situation it may be helpful. If not yet, it sounds like you'll be there soon.

  12. 1

    IMO it is all about size. If you are a company of 1 or 2, calling yourself CEO not only doesn't make sense it also shows the company is small. If the company starts growing, and you actually start to be less of a Founder (in the way that you are not doing everything) and more of a CEO, then I don't think it is cringe/"assholy".

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    This comment was deleted 2 months ago.

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