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Seth Godin on finding a COO and letting go of your organisation (1 of 2)

When I was building my company I believed that one-day I’d hire enough people that they could take care of themselves. Because if you hire managers and you think, “Now they can take care of…” But then the managers need taking care of. At 70 people I gave up. I said I’m never going to get there.

Then I got to Yahoo and the five people who were running the company didn’t have to do any of that. They built their company big enough that it took care of itself.

If you think about the Howard Schultz [of Starbucks] example — the mom and pop [store he started with] — “Well he’s not in this store, he must be in this store so this store’s running fine…” Once you have enough stores, you can’t be in any store; the stores are running fine.

At some point you’re going to need to hire a COO. At some point you’re going to need to hire a consigliere who takes care of all of this and that’s their job. Their job is for them to do the stuff you don’t want to do.

And the way I describe it is this: Entrepreneurs hire people who do everything they do so they can go do
something else.

The only way to promote yourself if you’re the boss is to hire someone who does your day job so that you
now have to prove your value by doing something [else]…*

There are people capable of doing the taxes, the relationships with the banks, and everything else better than you. It’s about you giving up enough control, spending the money, and saying, “I’m done with this.” The only way you justify it is to earn more than that amount of money [or make a bigger impact] with the time you freed up.

But it’s a choice. There’s nothing built into the structure of your business that forces you to do stuff you don’t want. It’s hard to get to let go of it.

Does she do it exactly the way I want every time? No, but that’s the price.

I don’t have to worry about it. In exchange, she doesn’t do it exactly the way I want it, she does it better.

Seth Godin – Startup School, Ep. 13: Building the Truth [via Kevin Evans’ fantastic transcript – here]

* Verbatim: “The only way to promote yourself if you’re the boss is to hire someone who does your day job so that you now have to prove your value by doing something that used to be your day job.”

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