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Delusions of Grandeur

In “Founders At Work“, Jessica Livingston interviews a boatload of company founders about their personal experiences with regard to starting their companies from the ground up. Paul Graham, who co-founded “ViaWeb” and sold it to Yahoo 3 years later for a cool $45M, was asked about his search for a CEO in the early days. Here’s what he said:

The problem with all of them was that they had delusions of grandeur. This was the beginning of the Internet Bubble, remember, and I think all of these guys saw themselves as some kind of grand CEO, while we programmers labored in the kitchen cooking the food and washing the dishes. If the deal were simply that the business guy would be the public face of the company, but we would be allowed to do what we wanted and make sure everything worked right, that would have been OK. But we were worried about what might happen if one of these guys wanted to actually be the chief executive officer and tell us what our strategy should be. We’d be hosed, because they didn’t know anything about computer stuff. – Paul Graham

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