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Becoming a CEO

Hana Mohan
Oct 18, 2015 · 3 min read

Hola! I am Prateek and I am the CEO of SupportBee. I have had the CEO job since I started the company back in 2010 but it’s only this year that I have finally started settling down in my role. Like a lot of entrepreneurs, I started my startup journey as a programmer. In fact, a passionate programmer if I may say so myself. When I started work on SupportBee in 2010, my primary goal was to create a company that programmers like myself would love working for and I did succeed in building one. We work on interesting and challenging problems, we contribute to open source and the best part is that we are profitable and we can pay ourselves! As a programmer I couldn’t be happier.

Nevertheless, last year (2014) I found myself burnt out and disillusioned with the startup life. SupportBee’s growth had plateaued and I was struggling with scaling the company. I was beginning to lose interest in work. I decided to take a break and travel to San Francisco for a few months. I ate a lot of good hipster food, biked around and most importantly meditated and introspected a lot. This break gave me a chance to think about many things — ambition, competition, motivation, sustainability etc. I also worked on a new mobile app for a few months. It was great to have a fresh slate again and do re-discover what I enjoy about building products.

However, I finally realized that instead of starting up again, I want to learn to scale up a company. Like some people struggle with the fear of flying, I I have had a fear of scaling up a company. It involves skills that don’t come naturally to me as a programmer — working with other people, planning and executing on a big vision and managing the cashflow to make it all work! Above all, it requires the discipline to do this well for years without burning myself out. The more I thought about it, the more I felt that scaling a company will help me become the person that I want to be — disciplined, and effective. I started working back on SupportBee in May 2015 with renewed enthusiasm and a focus on keeping it sustainable.

During my days as a programmer, I enjoyed sharing what I learnt with the community. I blogged, delivered talks and even wrote a book on single page web applications. With this new blog, I hope to do the same as I learn more about being an effective CEO and scaling up a business.

A lot of my friends and peers have told me that they have enjoyed my old blog’s authentic tone. I have also seen in many in-person conversations that by talking honestly about my experiences others are more willing to share their experiences with me. I find that deeply enriching and I hope this blog is no different. Running a company is challenging and at times lonely. I can’t do much about the challenge other than just accepting it and growing with it. I can however make this journey feel less lonely by sharing more! Thank you for reading :)

p.s. Like what you read? Click the ❤ button so more people see it and I write more :)

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