Upstart Ninja: So, you want to be a startup CEO?


2 min read


A lot – probably too much – has been written about startups, entrepreneurship and being a CEO.

This blog, and my book, is meant to express many of the aspects of the life of a startup CEO, in bite-sized, useful and sometimes humorous ways. It is not a guide to the process of starting a new company, nor does it present a trendy new model for designing your business.

Hopefully, it does include some insights into what you will face, on a daily basis, as you go along the ups and downs of the rollercoaster that is being the CEO of a startup.

I offer these nuggets based on my experience from starting three businesses (one successful, one failure and one also-ran), consulting with high-tech companies (at the ‘bleeding edge’ of a number of technologies) and working in the business incubation industry for many years.

The role of CEO in a startup is probably one of the most diverse jobs it is possible to have.

At the very beginning you are ‘it’. You open the office in the morning, buy the milk for the daily coffee, ensure the printer has enough paper, pay the electricity bill, and keep the heating / cooling working. But you must also brainstorm product features, decide on marketing strategy, manage the cashflow, deal with investors, be in charge of sales and customer service, and think about the future direction of your business.

And you’ll be doing all this before breakfast, and after dinner. It’s a FULL time job.

But it’s an incredibly rewarding job too. Seeing your ideas become reality. Seeing happy customers using your product or service. And seeing your bank balance gradually increase allowing you to expand, hire more people, and grow further.

As you grow all the tasks you had when you started still need to be done, but you’ll slowly be able to pass them off to your team leaving you more time for the strategic work.

In this blog I will break down the jobs of a startup CEO into a number of ‘ups’: Act up, Break up, Chin up, etc. Hopefully each one will give you a simple takeaway about an aspect of CEO life that is worth remembering. Of course, no one CEO experience is exactly the same as another, and you may not always agree with my assessment. That’s OK.

I hope you enjoy reading the blog!