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What Is The Best Advice For A Young, First-time Startup CEO?

Oct 10, 2015

This question originally appeared on Quora: What is the best advice for a young, first-time startup CEO? Answer by Jared Kim, Kim Builds Companies.

I have a few thoughts I can share on this topic. At 19, I was the CEO & founder of WeGame and just raised $3M Series A. It would have been great to have a thread like this back then :). There are literally hundreds of lessons I can share, but I'll try to keep it short.


Contrary to the stereotype, startups are a marathon, not a sprint.

The truth is, you are not going to be a billion dollar company or acquired in the next 18 months. This shit takes a long time.

Surround yourself with people you will want to work with for the next 5 years and beyond (e.g. co-founders, employees, advisors, board members, investors, etc).

Don't burn out. Take care of yourself by getting 8 hours of sleep, eat healthy, and exercise. If you don't take care of yourself, there's no way you can take care of your company in the long-term. Obviously there will occasionally be the special circumstances that will prohibit you from keeping a normal schedule (e.g. the days leading up to launch), but make those days the exceptions not the norm.


Build a great board and/or advisory board

Depending on who you raise money from, the investors who join your board may or may not have the operational experience of running/growing a company. Look for folks who have proven operational experience and have scaled a company and ask them to be an advisor. If they are amazing and you trust them, get them on your board. Ideally you want folks with experience in your industry, but even someone who has experience in a similar space could be valuable as well. There are some fundamentals of growing a company that are the same no matter what you are trying to do.


Communicate and be transparent with your team

They are in this with you too. By making sure everyone on your team is aware of everything going on in the company (both the good and bad), you are building a very important foundation of trust that is vital for any organization. I highly encourage having weekly all-hands meetings, as well as frequent 1-1s with everyone on your team until size makes it not feasible. Effective communication will keep everyone on the same page and quickly bubble up any issues that may easily be missed.

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