Your article seems to me to be relating a cogent, reasonable and logical progression. From being employee #1 (doing it all), its predictable that as one hires smarter people than oneself that one doesn’t have to hire more than maybe 10 fantastc people who consistently outperform their boss, before the HMFIC (the founder) becomes a voluntary participant in deciding what extent of his own “obsolescence” (or absence), so to speak, is appropriate to maintain the culture and enable the founder to ascend above the mundane tasks of the Executive Office. Seems rather traditional to me.
That said, I’m rather conflicted internally. I’m founding my first real, genuine business with a business partner and a small-ish inner circle of maybe 7–8 people total. A Material Planner, a couple of Machinists, one VERY high-end European Entrepreneur/ CEO, and a few guys from my years in R&D. Frankly, your article is the very first I’ve ever seen, ever, that communicated to me that starting a business, any business wasn’t a life long commitment to sleeping only when I fell over and didn’t dare do so in front of the troops. Not for a minute. I understand that new (& young) entrepreneurs need to adjust their expectations of themselves to more closely align with the realities of the path they’ve chosen. (The rude awakening)
However, once capital partners are funding the vision of the founder, revenues from sales (depending on the venture specifics, of course) soon begin to offset cash burn. From there, most 5th graders can figure out that doing whatever, however and whenever is necessary for the near to midterm to increase the revenues from sales enough to be able to begin hiring the smarter people. This particular phase is of unknown duration and intensity. Yet, logically speaking, if all goes reasonably well it shouldn’t be a personal sweatshop of toil for any longer than is reasonably necessary. Every business has a beginning. Some can be rather extended due to relevant factors and issues external to the venture. But, every beginning has an end somewhere down the road.
I appreciate your candor and willingness to take the time to share your experiences with we lesser men who may or may not be familiar with a concept I like to call, “adversity with a pay-off”.