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Outlier’s Path

Roles of a Founder

Every founder takes on various roles as their companies develop: creator, operator, manager, and leader.

At the start, when founders go from zero to one, they focus on building and tweaking products to find product-market fit. The focus is on creation and passion for their customers’ needs. When an inkling of product-market fit reveals itself, energy flows to create a wedge for go-to-market.

The next stage is to become world-class operators. Founders become technicians across various functions, first doing the job and then hiring others to replace them. Operators are about getting things done and doing it right. If the first stage is about creating, this next phase is about control for speed, cost, and excellence. How do you control the inputs of time, resources, and effort into the desired outputs?

When the connections between input and output reveal themselves, founders move to team and business management by planning, measuring, and course-correcting to achieve their lofty goals. Managers structure the company or build the machinery for leveraged execution, allowing creators and operators to thrive. Managers consistently create conditions for creators and operators to achieve their ambitious near-term targets across the organization.

When managers provide enough predictability and stability, founders return to their leadership role by embracing and driving change. They set a bigger vision and even more ambitious goals that will inspire creators to reinvent, operators to find new technical solutions to reforge time, effort, and resources to achieve even greater output, and managers to build new machinery for greater leverage.

The transformation of ideas into products customers need and a thriving business is a testament to founders and their ability to grow, fulfill various roles, and hire for those roles. Being a founder is audacious and daring.

We help the daring build legendary companies.