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Monday, April 30, 2012


A friend recently sent me some slides for an upcoming presentation.  Included in the presentation was a slide titled, “Founder’s Disease.”  He defined Founder’s Disease as the “Lack of Timely Decision Making, in a Thoughtful and Logical Manner.”  He further indicated that the result of the disease is “the Singular Cause of Delays, Wasted Effort and Needless Expenditures in Product Development.”

Founders sometimes are not familiar with the processes involved in developing their products and often, they lack the experience to price or manage the development process.  They may have identified an experienced team, but the ability of managing or in trusting the team has not developed enough to rely on the team.  This is often the case when founders that have never been in an operating role in a business.

Founders come with a wide range of experiences.  Nearly all founders are highly educated and smart and they have the entrepreneurial spirit.  Being smart and having latched onto a technology they love does not equip them to manage a company.  This is one of the reasons that having great advisors and a good Board of Directors is important.  The founders can gain from experiences of others and implement the correct strategies.  Lack of experience is also the reason that investors may elect to replace the founder post investment.

 Unfortunately, having all the tools does not lead to using them correctly.  Picking out the wrong tool, or being bogged-down in the decision process, slows progress.  Founders being smart can result in them believing they have the answers or in engaging in extended analysis but no decisions.  They forget that the ability to make decisive decisions in a timely manner saves money and eliminates confusions.  They remain highly focused on making the right decision but not on ending the process with a decision.

The ability to make these decisions also complicates their negotiations.  Founders forget that having specific goals and needs are part of the process.  Negotiations should not resemble the process of “trying to nail Jell-O to the wall.”    Negotiation strategies seeking the endpoint of lowest price without a working relationship can result in a bad result.  Similarly, negotiating with no real idea of what the result should be, makes for a bad relationship in the end.

As a founder, you should develop strategy and confirm the strategy with your advisors.  Ensure there is logic and business in the decisions and that it makes good sense.  Trying to proceed any other way is like trying to play chess with a Professional Ranked player.  You will likely loose in the end!

Watch out for Founder’s Disease!  Make solid decisions with help from the right members of your team.  Remember that you have a team of people and getting their input may help you save or make money. 

Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon