I remember about fifteen years ago, a well-known VC said to me “you need to sell a company within a few years of the founder leaving. Companies can’t sustain their innovation after a founder leaves.” I told that VC that my experience has been different on that measure and that I did not agree.
I have seen leadership teams take over great businesses from founders and get them to the next level. Etsy, where I am Chair of the Board and a large shareholder, is a great example of that. There are many others in my career as well.
However, there is a special something that founders provide companies. I’ve heard it called “moral leadership.” I’ve heard it called “the soul of the business.” I’ve heard it called “long-term thinking.”
This podcast with Brian Armstrong, founder and CEO of Coinbase, another public company where I am on the Board and a large shareholder, is a good example of that.
If you are into crypto or a Coinbase shareholder, you might want to watch the entire one hour and forty minutes of this video.
But if you want to see what I am talking about with founder-led businesses, there are a few conversations in this podcast I would direct you to. They are: