Gongol.com Archives: May 2023

Brian Gongol

May 11, 2023

Business and Finance Who's your right hand?

Elon Musk has cryptically announced the hiring of a new CEO for Twitter. It's a job nobody should envy. Musk will remain actively involved, he says, as executive chair and chief technology officer -- which means the buck stops somewhere other than the CEO's desk. And when he announced his plan in December, he openly declared, "I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job!" ■ Musk, like many other entrepreneurs and venture-seeking investors, would benefit from engaging in real partnerships -- one-on-one, with someone he could respect as much (or at least nearly as much) as himself. But although it's easy to find colleges teaching courses on corporate finance, electives on venture capital, and workshops on mergers and acquisitions ($17,000 for a six-day session at Harvard Business School!), it's far less common to find anything like "Elements of Partnership". ■ Partnerships can be hard, but they're also in many ways leagues better than going solo or getting swallowed up inside giant investor-owned corporations. A good partnership between two ambitious, skilled individuals with complementary skills to one another is really the story of many of the great business successes of both past and present. We don't seem to explore those arrangements as much as we used to. We focus on big, exciting teams, or we focus on celebrity entrepreneurs. Not much is said about the middle. ■ A good partnership has a lot in common with a good marriage, in which two people help each other look out for blind spots and strive for better results within an atmosphere of equality. Partnerships are often the way, and Americans spend almost no time talking about them. In a world where increasing specialization seems to be rewarded ever the more, it seems sensible to ask whether the default approach to a great new venture shouldn't usually start with an "and" between two names.

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