August 4, 2020

My Responsibilities as the CEO

John Saddington @8bit

Yesterday we had an important milestone: We hire someone new! Eugene is now part of the #yeniverse and has already begun getting settled.

We're grateful and excited to have him! 🎉 👏🏻

Right after I sent him the above, epic onboarding email (these are some of the longest emails that I write) I shared the news with the team inside our communication channel and realized that it might also be useful to better and more clearly define my own role for the team.

So, I went ahead and did just that:

Here's the post with some slight edits:

  1. I manage the books (accounting) and work with our legal team every month. I reconcile and do maintenance on all of our accounts and tools. It’s a pain in the ass but somebody’s gotta do it! We have a good legal team who has seen us through 2 rounds of financing.

  2. I connect with our VCs and extended financial network. What this looks like is that I take introductions and network consistently to ensure we have access to the capital we need to continue moving forward and growing. Naturally, we don’t want to bank on venture financing as I'd like for our early product (mvp) to put us on a clear pathway to profitability. Let’s own our destiny! Btw, we haven’t given up and board seats or voting rights to our current investors... I like them, but, not that much. LOL. I also write my monthly update to them which, at times, can take up to a full business week. This is unusual, but it is a considerable amount of time and energy per month.

  3. I continually source candidates, network, and (passively) interview / connect with folks to keep my skills sharp and to stay abreast of trends in the hiring landscape. I do this 3-5 times a week.

  4. Besides our team meetings i have 1-on-1’s with most of you each week, on Fridays. These are my most important meetings and I cherish them immensely. They also give me the deepest insights into how we're doing as a team.

  5. I write unique content daily in our intentionally-chosen networks and channels. This includes Twitter, YouTube, Indie Hackers, and my own personal blog and personal newsletter. I hit up Product Hunt once a week as well as YCombinator’s startup school forums. I do a weekly update via their tool and connect with other YC founders once a week in a live hangout.

  6. I perform (technical) maintenance on our old-ish community forum (17k+ members!!) and other supporting properties a few times a month. These are older properties from previous versions of the company and many of them are waiting for this product to ship! So grateful that they are still around (and growing)!

  7. I lead product vision, direction, and I try to not be a pain in the ass in our Wednesday Product meetings.

  8. I maintain our GitHub handbook and obsess over the health of our culture.

  9. I connect with, on average, 8-15 customers per week. I do this in 1-on-1 customer interviews or through the 3 weekly livestream meetups / hangouts that I host publicly on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

  10. I practice my business acumen and skills through writing things like this to my team, which is also modeling our Operating Virtues.

  11. I read 5-6 books simultaneously per week from a wide range of authors; from non-fiction to sci-fi to whatever. Reading is one of my more important disciplines. I digest content from a variety of sources... the odder the better and I bring these learnings back into our company and often test-drive them (with the team's help).

  12. I connect with a professional coach twice a month to ensure accelerated growth in areas I need the most help with. It’s also a good time to connect on issues that I may be blind (or willfully ignorant) towards.

  13. Of course... random one-off meetings... and other fun stuff. Putting out fires is kinda my fetish.

This list isn't comprehensive, but, it's a really good overview of what I actually do on any given day. But, these can be quickly boiled down into 3 main areas:

  1. Vision and direction for the company (i.e. alignment!)
  2. Recruit, hire, and retain talent (i.e. make them happy!)
  3. Make sure there's enough money in the bank to do the first two (i.e. financial leadership)!

I have a few more thoughts on the role of a CEO here.

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Here's a vlog where I share more details about this:

Feel free to subscribe!

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