strategic consultant to:  

~ serial CEOs & CTOs in software, Internet, technology & digital media
~ experienced consultants in all fields to maximize their practices

During my 25 years working with early stage technology CEOs, I have found myself referring to the make it- or break-it characteristics that lead a CEO to succeed or fail, separate from market conditions, capital conditions and other external factors, many of which cannot be controlled.

So, rather than keep them to myself as an internal checklist, I thought to explore them here in a series of postings, digging deeper than I have done before.  Comments are welcome.

Note that these are not tactical considerations, but strategic skill sets that can be applied to any venture.  This list doesn’t look like other lists or chapter headings I have seen — it seems adjacent to the usual business school outline.

These skill sets create successful serial entrepreneurs who can fail at one venture and still succeed at several others.  My experience has shown me that at least one of these characteristics was missing in any failed company I witnessed or evaluated, even if the other 9 characteristics were in play, despite market conditions.

To begin, here is the list of 10 characteristics:

  1. Domain expertise (technology or other)
  2. Leadership & personal power
  3. Financial savvy
  4. Ability to pitch and close
  5. Honor
  6. Realism
  7. Perseverance
  8. Patience
  9. Perspective on the larger scheme of things
  10. Courage to move forward, or stop, and to know when to do either one.

Please join me in this exploration as I post these upcoming 10 blogs over the coming weeks.  I’d appreciate your thoughts as this conversation evolves.