I’ve come to learn from others and from our own experiences that its natural – and necessary – to continuously address how duties are divvied up among leadership – especially among multiple founders.
When Contactually was first incorporated, we had a pretty simple split between “build” and “sell.” Tony was brought on to “sell” while Jeff and I “built.” As the company started to form underneath us, that naturally evolved into Engineering, Product, Finance, and People being under my purview, and Tony leading Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success . That balance worked well, as we built up teams and found executives to lead them.
Late last year, we saw there was an opportunity to improve how we balanced roles. The split between “build” and “sell” wasn’t effective anymore – the commercial teams on the front lines and internal R&D portions of our business needed to be more tightly integrated. A number of more strategic BD efforts were not getting enough attention. Oscillating between day-to-day operations and long-term strategy was becoming more challenging. In hindsight, we should have expected, and welcomed, the company to get to such a stage.
After some discussion, we decided to switch our balance of responsibilities from “build/sell” to “internal/external.” Tony, as COO, would be responsible for all internal operations, focused on quarterly growth. Beyond overall culture, and vision, I was to focus on external relationships, and the company as a whole.
It would not have made sense to split the company like this in the early days. Doing so now has made complete sense – and has paid off.
As a technical “maker” CEO, this has been a big swing out of my comfort zone. But more on that another time.