I’M FIRED!?!

I made the (scary) decision to “fire myself” as CEO of my own company. #BestDecisionEVER (IamNOTaCEO.com, Part 2)

Back in 2007, I had a “company” (a term I use loosely, hence the quotes) which was a collection of viral “Humor Hotlines” (the first/biggest of which was “The Rejection Hotline”) which were collectively reaching / entertaining / engaging MILLIONS of people and receiving huge amounts of media coverage; yet I had (half-jokingly) dubbed myself “America’s Worst Entrepreneur” because, despite the success/growth on the consumer-facing/product side, we were still losing money on the business side…

Even CNN thought we were making lots of money… but, despite MILLIONS of phone calls and tons of media coverage, we weren’t profitable until I realized:
“I am NOT a CEO” (and subsequently fired myself as CEO of my own company)

So, after much soul-searching and internal debate, I decided to “fire myself” as CEO of my own company. I brought in a business partner to be the new CEO, to run/grow the company, to handle the parts of the business that I wasn’t particularly good at (or excited about), allowing me to focus on the parts of the business that I excel at (the content, the creative, the ideas, the vision, the strategy, etc.).

That realization that “I am NOT a CEO” was absolutely the catalyst for the success of our startup! Within 6 months of replacing myself as CEO, we had raised a million dollars in funding. Within 6 months of the funding, we were profitable — after YEARS without any significant revenue! And we were a profitable 7-figure company for the next 4+ years…

[NOTE: Big thanks to Bryan! (my aforementioned CEO / business partner) … And, while I’m at it, shout-out/thanks to Dave (our lead investor)… and all (7?) of the other investors who took a gamble with us… and to Josh, our CTO… and thanks to all our employees!!! I know I’ve thanked you all before — but figured I should also do it here, ya know, for the 7 people who might actually be reading this?]

In conclusion (as I am optimistically hoping that someone is still reading at this point), my “I am NOT a CEO” lesson is one that I hope to encourage other entrepreneurs to seriously consider for themselves — not necessarily in regard to the CEO role; just regarding personal strengths, weaknesses, and self-awareness in general! And it is the backbone for how I plan to write the next chapter in my entrepreneurial career, by embracing my (few) strengths (as a vision/strategy/idea guy, a viral media specialist, and a startup-STARTER) and my (many) weaknesses (organization, operations, execution, sales, getting distracted in the middle of a


IamNOTaCEO.com (Part 1 of 3)

My Entrepreneurial Epiphany: I am an Entrepreneur, but I AM NOT A CEO! (click to read)

IamNOTaCEO.com (Part 3 of 3)

(click to read)


3 Years of Thinking/Writing/Planning:
IamNOTaCEO.com (Entrepreneurial Epiphanies)
ThoughtsOnStartups.com (Thoughts & Theories)
ReThinkingStartups.com (Improvement Initiatives)
ViralWhatever.com (“We make Sh*t Go Viral” Secret Sauce)
Part-Time “Pursuit of Proof” Premises & Programs:
StarterStartups.com / MultipleBasketStartups.com / theSWANstartup.com
Practicing What We Preach:
18Startups.com / PitchingForPartners.com

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