A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here.
Way back in 2009 I wrote Leaders Should NOT Be Cowboys. While the advice was accurate at the time, it made the basic assumption that founders were adults.
I suppose it was naïve to assume that anybody starting a company, let alone being handed millions of dollars to do it, would have a certain level of mental and emotional maturity — or at least know when to shut up.
But the world has changed drastically.
It’s now a world where nothing is private and letting it all hang out has been take to extremes; where sharing all aspects of your life is expected and the resulting personally identifiable data packaged and sold; where sex/sexism in one form or another is prevalent; where anybody can freely and anonymously critique/shame/bully/insult whomever they please; where frat boy culture/attitude/thinking is the new norm, where etc., etc., etc.
Take a look at Uber, Thinx, Tanium, or the US president; the list goes on even when the actions are well camouflaged, as they are at Google and Facebook.
These new CEOs aren’t necessarily cowboys in the previous sense.
They have moved past that and are more aligned with the back end of their horses.
Image credit: HikingArtist