So You Wanna Be President?
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So you want to be the president of an Internet company? It's not exactly a piece of cake. Just ask AwsomeCakes.com President Dennis Fleck. According to Fleck, it is all about juggling a lot of balls and addressing 15 top priorities all at the same time. Fleck like many other Internet presidents these days also wears the hat of CEO.
Fleck believes that to be a successful president these days you need to have a record of solid business experience. Fleck was the president of a software and a manufacturing company before entering the dotcom arena. "You have to understand how to generate revenue and profits," says Fleck.
Craig Chelius a partner at Meridan Venture Catalyst, a Kirkland-based company that helps early stage companies refine their business plans, believes that a good president has to be in touch with his/her customers. "If you don't have a passion for solving someone's problems, then you shouldn't be a president of any company...let alone an Internet company," says Chelius.
Christian Weber, president of Seattle-based web solutions provider Liquisite.com believes some of the qualities a successful president should have are: persistance and tenacity. Presidents are going to have to dig deep and keep pushing, to motivate themselves and their teams if they really want to make it happen," says Weber.
Many companies these days are turning to executive recruiters to help them find the perfect president. Jerry Taylor is manager for Executive Recruiters, a Bellevue-based executive search firm specializing in placing executives in the software, e-commerce and wireless industries.
According to Taylor, nowadays companies are looking for "named" people from "named" companies. "A named person helps attract other talent and investments too," says Taylor.
Taylor, who has been working in the recruiting business for more than 20 years now, believes there are two other important things that are looked at: Does the person have stability (i.e. someone who has worked for a large company for at least 5-6 years), and is the person someone who will be able to garnish respect from the people that will work under him/her.
John Coutts, managing director of Korn/Ferry International in Seattle also believes that strong business leadership ability is the key predictor of success. "Most tech execs have abundant technology expertise, but haven' yet learned how to steer the corporate ship," says Coutts.
When you are looking for years of experience on the president's resume, make sure you bring in Internet time into the equation. While there doesn't seem to be that many presidents these days that are in their early 20's, there are a lot of young players out there that are doing things right.
Take Matt Mostad for example, the 29 year old president of enthusiasm technologies is about to sell his company to Beaverton, Oregon-based Metro One Telecommunications. Mostad believes it's all about "I have to" vs. "I want to". "I wake up in the morning knowing that I have to go out there and get things done".