I personally know a half-dozen guys who have multiple times founded and sold businesses for $200m+. They make a good team so they keep working together. No need for IPOs.

Well, actually, to correct myself a bit I’m not sure they can keep the band together for one more go. The reason is basically that doing a VC funded startup is too stressful and some of them have had pretty serious health problems in the last few years. Judging from all my entrepreneur friends, it seems almost endemic to have heart problems, getting seriously burnt out (one was catatonic for a week or so then on a long medical leave), etc. Not unheard of elsewhere, of course, but when I start tallying up the casualties in that group they are pretty substantial.

Ya, VC funding and company valuations in excess of 200 million takes things several levels above what I can pretend to imagine.

That does sound daunting. I’m honestly not sure if I’d want to do that. Well, I don’t have the skills to, but I mean I’m not sure if I’d want to attempt to learn the skills and do that kind of business.

That’s more something that I’d want to have done, instead of to do.

I can’t tell if that’s just sour grapes talking, as I’m only just starting to dip my toes into what it takes to run an organization. A 200m plus business has to have a serious organizational chart, and some serious management knowledge must be put into play. That’s a complex social visualization that my brain is not yet wired for.

hippocampusThey say that taxi drivers who learn to visualize a map of the city in their heads have structural changes to their hippocampus.

I’d imagine that managing large teams would require embiggening of the social network brain nodule.  (Research is showing a correlation between the hippocampus and social networks)  And while keeping track of multiple changing tasks is different than memorizing a static map, I’d lay money on brain plasticity being involved in becoming better at it.

Learning piano takes years of muscle memory development. Chords and complex geometrical relationships between notes get learned in one part of the brain and then slowly transferred directly into the spine where sub-processing can occur. I’m certain that management also involves years of developing complex skills, such that complex tasks and huge visualizations become unconscious gut instinct and off the cuff insta-processing.

How old are these guys? At what age did they have their first big business, and how many employees did it have? Did they outsource the management?

Actually, I would like to be capable of that level of management. But I’d not want to jump in and be forced to swim in that deep end.


I’m looking over resumes today for new hires. The old personal assistant is out, and will be replaced by two or three staff of much higher caliber. That will bring me up to about a dozen local staff members. Then I’ll need to find the video team. Then I’ll bring out a group of interns. Then I’ll start to interact with customers and models. Then…

I’ve spent the last few days researching and learning about collaboration software. I’ve used Asana and Podio before but did not like either. I’ve found a suite of other solutions that I prefer. This will help me to organize and better manage and visualize my projects and how the tasks are distributed.

The software is also designed for teams to collaborate together, which lessens my management load.

I’m focusing now on learning marketing and copywriting, however I’m also going to have to learn more about management structures. My HR kung fu is pre-beginners level. I’ve got to learn how to slot specialists into hierarchical collaborative roles, get them trained and continually learning, shift them around with raises and new demands, structure commissions and profit sharing, learn from them, and more that I don’t yet understand.

The team is still relatively small, so it’s not urgent, but even putting together a proper marketing team is going to require a lot more organizational structure than I’d ever considered.

My theory is that learning to manage teams is a developed skill that takes time to develop, for the same reasons it takes time for taxi drivers to learn a city and for piano players to learn the piano.  The brain has to grow new neuronal connections and abilities.  It’s not just a matter of reading a book and following the recipe.