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Managing Startups: Best Blog Posts by Thomas Eisenmann

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Chapter 63. What It’s Like to Be the CEO: Revelations and Reflections

On May 20, 2012, either right before midnight or right after midnight, I can’t remember, I posted my rendition of what it feels like to be a startup CEO to a question on Quora. 1,124 votes later and one last glance at a notification of an up vote from Jia Liu, a social game maker from Zynga, I’m going to close the Quora tab and, at the recommendation of Dharmesh Shah, write what these last few days have been like, some of the cool things I’ve heard, and some of the great people I’ve met as well as what I’ve realized.

With that said, here’s the original post that sparked such a fantastic response.

What It Feels Like to Be the CEO of a Startup

Very tough to sleep most nights of the week. Weekends don’t mean anything to you anymore. Closing a round of financing is not a relief. It means more people are depending on you to turn their investment into 20 times what they gave you.

It’s very difficult to “turn it off.” But at the same time, television, movies, and vacations become so boring to you when your company’s future might be sitting in your inbox or in the results of a new A/B test you decided to run.

You feel guilty when you’re doing something you like doing outside of the company. Only through years of wrestling with this internal fight do you recognize how the word “balance” is an art that is just as important as any other skill set you could ever hope to have. You begin to see how valuable creativity ...

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