Startup CEO 2nd Ed.

A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business

Matt Blumberg

Publisher: Wiley, 2020, 456 pages

ISBN: 978-1-119-72366-0

Keywords: Organizational Development, Entrepreneurship, Leadership

Last modified: Jan. 10, 2021, 2:58 a.m.

Being a startup CEO is a job like no other: it's difficult, risky, stressful and, in venture capitalist and long-time Return Path Board Member Fred Wilson's view, "lonely, heavy duty, and a thankless task." As a startup CEO, seeing things for the first time, you're likely to make mistakes, to fail, to get things wrong, and to feel like you don't have any control over outcomes.

Author Matt Blumberg has been there, and in Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business, Second Edition he shares his experiences, mistakes, and lessons learned as he guided Return Path from a handful of employees and no revenues to over $100 million in revenues and 500 employees in 2019. In the highly volatile internet world, Matt and his team managed the company through the dot-com crisis of 2000, 9/11, the financial meltdown of 2008, and through the successful sale to Validity in May 2019.

Startup CEO is not a memoir of Return Path's 20-year journey, but a thoughtful CEO-focused book that provides first-time CEOs with advice, tools, and approaches for the situations that they will likely face.

Organized into six parts — Storytelling, Building Human Capital, Execution, Leading a Board of Directors, Managing Yourself, and Selling Your Company — Matt guides you through the thorny, challenging situations you'll face and provides solutions. With this book as your guide, you'll discover:

  • How to tell your story to your team, new hires, investors, and customers for better decisions, greater alignment, and speed
  • How to balance your life and grow your company at the same time
  • How to develop, lead, and leverage your board of directors

A new section covers selling your company. As a first-time CEO you'll probably sell your company only once, but buyers will have done multiple deals. How can you turn that to your advantage so that your company is bought, not sold?

Startup CEO is the field guide every CEO needs throughout the growth of their company.

    1. The Importance of Authentic Leadership in Changing Times
  • Part ONE: Storytelling
    1. Dream the Possible Dream
    2. Defining and Testing the Story
    3. Telling the Story to Your Investors
    4. Telling the Story to Your Team
    5. Revising the Story
    6. Bringing the Story to Life
  • Part TWO: Building the Company's Human Capital
    1. Fielding a Great Team
    2. The CEO as Functional Supervisor
    3. Crafting Your Company's Culture
    4. The Hiring Challenge
    5. Every Day in EveryWay,We Get a Little Better
    6. Compensation
    7. Promoting
    8. Rewarding: "It's the Little Things" That Matter
    9. Managing Remote Offices and Employees
    10. Firing: When It's Not Working
  • Part THREE: Execution
    1. Creating a Company Operating System
    2. Creating Your Operating Plan and Setting Goals
    3. Making Sure There's Enough Money in the Bank
    4. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Financing
    5. When and How to Raise Money
    6. Forecasting and Budgeting
    7. Collecting Data
    8. Managing in Tough Times
    9. Meeting Routines
    10. Driving Alignment
    11. Have You Learned Your Lesson?
    12. Going Global
    13. The Role of M&A
    14. Competition
    15. Failure
  • Part FOUR: Building and Leading a Board of Directors
    1. The Value of a Good Board
    2. Building Your Board
    3. Board Meeting Materials
    4. Running Effective Board Meetings
    5. Non-Board Meeting Time
    6. Decision Making and the Board
    7. Working with the Board on Your Compensation and Review
    8. Serving on Other Boards
  • Part FIVE: Managing Yourself So You Can Manage Others
    1. Creating a Personal Operating System
    2. Working with an Executive Assistant
    3. Working with a Coach
    4. The Importance of Peer Groups
    5. Staying Fresh
    6. Your Family
    7. Traveling
    8. Taking Stock of the Year
  • Part SIX: Selling Your Company
    1. A Note on Exits
    2. Preparing Yourself for an Exit
    3. Preparing Your Company for an Exit
    4. The Sale Process
    5. Transition and Integration
    6. Thinking about Your Next Step
  • Conclusion