How CEOs Think: 5 Mental Models to Shift from Founder to CEO

5 mental models distinguish “product-Founders” from successful “Founder-CEOs”. Trulia Founder, Pete Flint, breaks them down for Founders everywhere. What is rarely brought to light, though, are mental models that these “product-Founders” use to transition to successful “Founder-CEOs.” There is a large delta between the two, and it’s often the highest leverage point for taking your startup to the next level. In order to make this transition successfully, there are some key changes you need to make within your own mindset.

The New Hot Startups Will Be Camels, Not Unicorns

Camel” startups remind us that a different model exists. While they still pursue and achieve rapid growth, these startups balance it with other objectives like managing costs and charging a reasonable price for products or services. While many of these entrepreneurs harness network effects and enjoy enviable rates of growth, their scaling trajectory may not have the same perfect exponential hockey-stick curve to which Silicon Valley startups aspire. Instead, they focus on sustainable growth from day one. The cash curve does not dip as deeply.

How To Make It Through The Startup Phase

Startups have become mainstream in India. Yet, as an ecosystem, we are still learning how to deal with the common struggles that first-time entrepreneurs face to go from the startup phase to becoming an established company.

Debt is Coming

Ten years from now, what seismic change will we reflect back on and think, “well that was pretty obvious, in retrospect”?   Debt is going to finally come to the tech industry.   Plenty of people these days preach “startups need to rely less on fundraising”; it’s harder to find anyone who’ll challenge the equity mechanics themselves. But continuously selling equity, even at high valuations, is more expensive than the narrative suggests. As a founder, the most valuable optionality you have is the equity you haven’t sold, and the dilution you haven’t taken. But the second most valuable optionality you can have is a valuation that’s not too high. 

How Glossier turned itself into a billion-dollar beauty brand

When Glossier founder and CEO Emily Weiss first had the idea of launching a beauty startup, she began with a simple question: how could you make a beauty brand whose sweatshirt people would want to wear? As founder of beauty blog Into the Gloss, which she started in 2010, Weiss had worked with household name beauty conglomerates on advertising and sponsorship deals, and found that many were struggling to engage with the new generation of millennial consumers. “I went through that exercise of looking across 20 or 10 beauty brands, thinking about whether or not I would buy that sweatshirt, wear that sweatshirt… I just kept coming up with the answer ‘no’,” she says.