The first question people ask you when you make a change is “why”. In starting my new role as CEO of Spreadshirt, the two questions folks had for me:
- But, I thought you were happy at Intuit?
- Ummmm… t-shirts?
First, my commentary on the questions. As a culture, we question rather than support change. We need to work on this. Provide counsel and guidance, while being happy for those with the courage to try something different. More than nine times out of ten, they will grow from it. What do you think?
And, what are the answers to those questions?
- I was extremely happy at Intuit. Intuit is an amazing company… a combination of entrepreneurial vibe and operational expertise. QuickBase is growing like crazy; and the team is outstanding. The Innovation Lab was leading not only at the company, but in the industry; and the team inspired me every day. I wasn’t considering leaving, and I told Spreadshirt that for several months… until one day, I realized that I had done my job at Intuit. The kind of early-stage audacious problems I get energy from working on… they were solved. I realized that I might be turning down a great opportunity, not because the teams weren’t ready to carry the torches we had lit together, but because I wasnt ready to leave. Not a good reason, IMHO.
- What about those t-shirts? I can’t tell you. Really, I can’t tell you more about the secret sauce here at Spreadshirt. We aren’t ready just yet. What I can tell you is that:
- I had already decided I wanted my next gig to be with a company that produced a physical product. After 15+ years in the bits-and-bytes business, it was time for a change.
- After spending time with Lukasz, Matthias, and Michael, I wanted Spreadshirt to succeed even more. And, my skills seemed complementary to theirs.
- Closely related to the above, quality wasn’t just an adjective to this team, but a key value.
- I missed being in an international setting. Since ’97, I worked in some capacity on global aspects of a product or company.
- I can wear t-shirts to every event and it is appropriate!
- …But, seriously, this is about more than the shirt itself, but the self-expression capabilities provided. I like the simplicity of a t-shirt being the vehicle for that.
What’s “on a shirt” on this topic? To support big change, how about:
You can’t jump a 20-foot chasm in two 10-foot leaps.