August 6, 2020

Startup CEO Second Edition Teaser: Preparing Your Company for an Exit

As part of the new section on Exits in the Second Edition of the book (order here), there’s a specific chapter around Preparing Your Company for an Exit.  That’s pretty different than Preparing Yourself (last week’s post).   This chapter really focuses on two things.  One is how to think about who within your company knows about the possible deal, which conversations you keep private and which you have more in public.  I’ll save the details on that one for the book. But there’s a second topic that’s important as well.  And it’s about due diligence and disclosure schedules.  What fun!  I call it “Begin with the end in mind.”  The advice in this section of the book, which is “get a full and complete due diligence checklist from your lawyer before you start a sale process” is something I wish I had done the day I started the company, not the day I started the sale process.  Knowing what things buyers will want to see, in what form, and how well organized, would have influenced me and my CFO to be more orderly about corporate records (things like shareholder votes and board minutes) as well as client contracts. It’s not […]


July 30, 2020

Startup CEO Second Edition Teaser: Selling Your Company – Preparing Yourself for an Exit

One of the new sections in the Second Edition (order here) that I’m excited to share is a deep dive with several chapters on selling your company.  The next few blog posts will share some of my thinking on the subjects as they’re arranged into chapters in the book.  For many startup CEOs the culmination of their life’s work is an exit of some kind (other than being fired!). Personally, there were a range of emotions surging through me when we got to the point of a sale and while the financial reward can be enticing, there are a lot […]


July 23, 2020

Startup CEO, Second Edition Teaser: The Importance of Authentic Leadership in Changing Times

As I mentioned the other day, the second edition of Startup CEO is out.  This post is a teaser for the content in one of the new chapters in this edition on Authentic Leadership. As I mentioned last week, the book went to press early in the COVID-19 pandemic and prior to all the protests around racial injustice surrounding the George Floyd killing, so nothing in it specifically addresses any of those issues.  In some ways, though, that may be better at the moment since the book is more about frameworks and principles than about specific responses to current events. […]


July 14, 2020

Startup CEO, Second Edition

I haven’t taken a poll to figure out the overlap between people who read this blog and people that bought the first edition of Startup CEO, but I’m guessing there’s a high degree of it. If you are familiar with the book, I don’t want to bore you with a recap of what I wrote, but I thought I would devote the next several blogs to new ideas in the second edition. First, the new cover art from the publisher is kind of cool: The first question you might have is, “Why a second edition? Didn’t you say everything you […]


July 9, 2020

Back in Business

If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time (amazingly, it is over 16 years old now!), you know that my company and main professional life’s work up to this point, Return Path, was a 1999 vintage email technology company that we sold last year.  I then had a couple other interim leadership roles, first as interim CEO of another tech company in New York, then in March as the founder and interim leader of Colorado’s COVID-19 Innovation Response Team, which I wrote a series of blog posts about (this is the final post in the series, which links […]


April 5, 2020

State of Colorado COVID-19 Innovation Response Team, Part VII – Retrospective

(This is the seventh and final post in a series documenting the work I did in Colorado on the Governor’s COVID-19 Innovation Response Team – IRT.  Other posts in order are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.) I’ll start the final post in this series by sharing the overview and retrospective deck that we created my last day and the two days after.  Governor Polis is going to share this with the National Governors Association in case other states are interested in our model or learnings. This pdf, which you’re welcome to download or just view in SlideShare, is […]


April 4, 2020

State of Colorado COVID-19 Innovation Response Team, Part VI – How This Compared to Running a Company

(This is the sixth post in a series documenting the work I did in Colorado on the Governor’s COVID-19 Innovation Response Team – IRT.  Other posts in order are 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.) As these posts have been running, a few people have asked me to quickly compare this experience to the experience of being a Startup CEO.  And that’s an interesting way to think about it. In a lot of ways, the couple of weeks of getting the IRT up and running felt like starting up a new business, only a lot more intense.  Following the outline […]


April 3, 2020

State of Colorado COVID-19 Innovation Response Team, Part V – Wrapping Up, Days 10-12

(This is the fifth post in a series documenting the work I did in Colorado on the Governor’s COVID-19 Innovation Response Team – IRT.  Other posts in order are 1, 2, 3, and 4.) Thursday, March 26, Day 10 Sarah continuing to take over and stronger by the day Sarah cleared me to go home, only one more person to ask Deep deep dive on Mass Testing – so good to spend that time  Pretty much got the strategy right – shocking we could get that close with so little public health experience – Kyle awesome – EOC leadership briefing […]


April 2, 2020

State of Colorado COVID-19 Innovation Response Team, Part IV – Replacing Myself, Days 7-9

(This is the fourth post in a series documenting the work I did in Colorado on the Governor’s COVID-19 Innovation Response Team – IRT.  Other posts in order are 1, 2, and 3.) Monday, March 23, Day 7 Wellness screening – put hot cup of coffee against my temples – now finally the thermometer works (although I can’t say that it gives me a high degree of comfort that I have figured out a workaround!) Furious execution and still backlog is growing no matter how much I do – thank goodness team is growing.  Never seen this before – work […]


April 1, 2020

State of Colorado COVID-19 Innovation Response Team, Part III – Hitting Our Stride, Days 4-6

(This is the third post in a series documenting the work I did in Colorado on the Governor’s COVID-19 Innovation Response Team – IRT.  First two posts are here and here.) Friday, March 20, Day 4 Morning pilates going pretty well, a good daily routine here Wellness Screening on the way in for the first time.  Uniformed National Guard guys taking temperature on surface of face/temples.  Can’t get it to work – takes 6x Leadership and prioritization of important over urgent – staff the team Strategic National Stockpile failure – they send us 60,000 masks and Colorado is using 68,000/day.  […]


March 31, 2020

State of Colorado COVID-19 Innovation Response Team, Part II – Getting Started, Days 1-3

(This is the second post in a series documenting the work I did in Colorado on the Governor’s COVID-19 Innovation Response Team – IRT.  Introductory post is here.) Tuesday, March 17, Day 1 Extended stay hotel does not have a gym.  Hopefully there is one at work Walking into office for the first time.  We are in a government building in a random town just south of Denver that houses the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) and the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.  These are the teams who are on point for emergency response in Colorado when there […]