How do you CEO? / Michael @ Fable + Ajay @ EntryLevel
A learning journey of how startup CEOs work.
Over the past 6 six months, I've interviewed 10 CEOs to learn how to do my job better.
It was one of the best things I’ve ever done for my own professional development and I hated the idea of keeping all the insights to myself. They all kindly agreed to share our candid conversations so that we can all learn from each other.
I’ll be posting the conversations every Monday and a summary of my own insights at the end of the series.
Enjoy today’s double conversation as these two are a bit shorter.
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#4 Michael Fox / CEO @ Fable Food
Note: I chatted to Michael in the car whilst I was driving, so sadly my notes are from memory only post a great car conversation.
How do you CEO?
Recognise your own strengths and weaknesses.
Then hire the people to cover your weaknesses.
Get someone else to own the parts that you’re not good at instead of you ie other cofounders and exec team. And then keep each other accountable.
The most important thing is to get the right people on the bus in the right seat.
I headhunt the best people for my business.
Usually, it is someone you previously worked with or someone else recommended.
When you meet someone like that keep the relationship going.
I’m relentless here and for some of the best people, it took me 1-5 years to convince them to join me.
Hire people who are better than yourself and unlock them.
Our leadership meetings are 2 hours and on Monday afternoons so they can go over time.
Recently, we’ve tried to have them in VR with the Oculus Quest 2 and it has been super fun as it added another layer of expression to our meetings.
We all write functional updates ahead of the meeting itself but then the meeting itself is fluid.
#5 Ajay Prakash / CEO @ EntryLevel
How do you CEO?
I’ve experimented with so many meeting formats and levels of oversight. We tried a few weeks of zero meetings and this really helped us understand what meetings were absolutely essential.
My work split:
Individual contributions: This could be product requirements, building the website, making videos, marketing activities or anything else needed in the business.
Reviewing Work: A big portion of my work week to week is actually reviewing the work of others or unblocking them. This is almost a third of my workload.
Sprints with departments (I act as the scrum master for most of them)
How do you communicate with your team?
CEO Weekly (adopted from your Edrolo OS)
Friday All Hands Announcements
Weekly email update is
Wins/learnings from last week summarised and
Finally what I’m doing that week.
It keeps me accountable and my team motivated seeing me do work.
How do you set a strategy?
The Vision Presentation (which keeps us thinking about the 2030 goal)
Annual Company goals
Monday strategy session - quick update from each department, asks by the department and questions from other team members to the department.
How do you set goals?
Start with the North Star Metric.
Then 2-3 company-level OKRs.
Then trickle down into departments.