Don't Hire a VP You Don’t Love
Startup Codex

"You can't hire a VP that you don't love" is Jason Lemkin's advice in this post.

Agreement and trust between the CEO and the VPs are key.

Drawing on his personal experiences, he shares how an excellent VP can fail in a context where the CEO doesn't appreciate him, and finds himself unable to trust him completely. And how the same VP will break sales records in a perfect match with another CEO.

On paper it seems obvious. But there is always the risk for the founding CEO to compromise under pressure or for lack of better candidates.

I've long believed that during the critical years of a startup's development, VPs acted as a second circle of founders. The daily life of these years of development is brutal. Important decisions are legion. Trust, and a real compatibility of minds, are essential.

So beware of compromises. If things do not evolve in the right direction, it is better to put an end to a relationship that is not successful.

I told the CEO to just hire this VP of Sales candidate. That at $4m in ARR, it was late already, the logo accounts were there, there were enough leads, enough to build on. Get it done. I believed, at a minimum, this VP of Sales would drive revenue per lead up, and more than pay for himself.

And the CEO hired him. And never loved him. And within 4 months, the VP of Sales was gone. They never really hit it off, and everything this VP of Sales did that was “wrong” (and there was plenty, as there always is), was viewed as failing a test. And I guess … this failure … it was my fault.