Kickstarter Shake-up: How Do You Know When It's Time to Go?
BY Nicole Carter
The start-up announced some big changes among its executive ranks--including the departure of a key co-founder.
In a company blog post, Kickstarter CEO and co-founder Perry Chen announced Wednesday some major executive changes within the popular crowdfunding company--including his own transition to company chairman on January 1.
According to the post, co-founder and head of communications Yancey Strickler will become the company's CEO.
Chen wrote that he's looking forward to moving away from the "day-to-day to consider our path from a new perspective." He added, "I’m also looking forward to having time to work on creative projects of my own, after all these years working on an engine to support them."
But the most shocking of the changes concerned co-founder and head of design Charles Adler, who will leave the company all together. Chen wrote:
"Charles has long been itching to move with his family back to Chicago, and now that timing is right. He’ll be sorely missed, but he’ll stay connected as an advisor as he explores new adventures. We’ll go back to seeing each other on Skype, like in the early days when we’d jump on to discuss design details at all hours."
The three founded Kickstarter, based in Brooklyn, New York, in 2009, and the company has seen rapid growth over the last four years (though, the company claims it has no intentions of ever going public). Early investor Fred Wilson wrote in a blog post shortly after the announcement that these executive changes aren't at all concerning and simply shows that the founders have built a "very important and sustainable business."
While the company is tight-lipped on details of Chen's and Yancey's new roles and Adler's departure, Kickstarter isn't the first company to see its founders take up new roles--both inside and outside the company.
Inc. columnist Samuel Bacharach recently wrote about how founders need to always look at themselves in the context of their growing business, and evaluate their role objectively.
"You may have been great in your time--and you still may be great--but ask whether you fit the moment. Is the environment that your organization is operating in now the one that you are most comfortable?" he wrote.
In addition to that question, Bacharach writes, make sure you have honest answers for each of the following:
Is my knowledge base static? If you find yourself more and more out of sync with changing technologies, changing markets, changing ideas and concepts, then you may have to seriously consider making room for the younger generation who can keep up.
Is my network expanding? Leadership is based on your ability to network, make new connections, and find new linkages. If you find yourself dealing with the same people all the time, then maybe it is time to reconsider your position.
Does the work demand more of you? This is neither a physical nor intellectual question. Emotionally, are you less engaged with the daily activities necessary to sustain forward movement?
Do you think others around you can do a better job? Leaders always recognize talent and exceptional people. Few leaders in their prime feel replaceable. But if you are struck that others around you can do a better job than you can, then maybe you should let them.