When is it time to replace yourself as the CEO of your startup? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
I'm an engineer at heart. I've always loved to create and innovate which made starting PagerDuty an easy proposition. Of course, being a startup founder is more than just thinking of great ideas and building stuff. You need to hire people and actually make administrative decisions to ensure your dream persists. Also, when you have a team depending on you, not just for their career but also their livelihood, you feel a sense of responsibility considering you're paying people's salaries now. I was about 7 years into leading PagerDuty when I started realizing that I should consider bringing in an experienced executive to help me scale the business. My time as CEO was spent focused internally, on hiring and managing the team. I wasn't spending much time talking to customers and found that I didn't have enough time to focus on the product side of things.
Initially, I started thinking about bringing in a COO to run sales, marketing and G&A, thus freeing me up to focus on product and engineering. I did a lot of upfront research and spoke to other founders who had gone down this path. I realized that the best candidates in the world would not settle for a COO position, they would want to be CEO. So, I had to bite the bullet and set my own ego aside: I decided to replace myself as CEO.
I consulted with our advisors and board members to help in the search process. Enter Jennifer Tejada. We clicked right off the bat and in July 2016, I became the CTO and Jennifer took the reins as our Chief Executive. Over the past three years, she's built an amazing team, made inclusion and diversity one of our top priorities, and taken the company public in April 2019. My goal was to make PagerDuty and its employees successful. I needed a great partner to help make that vision a reality and I found her in Jennifer.
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