Executives are not effectual reasoners

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One of the challenges that entrepreneurs face when looking for partners for a new startup, is that there are many executives that claim they are willing to jump ship and start something fresh. After all, they have decades of industry experience and the network.

However, Founders need breadth over depth and, perhaps more importantly, executives tend to be causal reasoners instead of effectual reasoners. This means that hiring or partnering up with an executive early on may not be the best strategy for a founder.

This is something I have experienced first-hand, and a discussion I've had with others as well.

People who built their careers in secure places, big organizations, etc. have not built the entrepreneurial spirit. Therefore, we can be victims of the gray hair fallacy, and we attribute more authority to someone than what is warranted. Even people working in Venture Capital may be bad fits for a startup if they were not already entrepreneurs.

I strongly believe scipreneurs don't need someone with business experience. In many cases, that experience comes from an executive who has made their career in a corporate environment. However, they can be a very bad match for a young company. Their mind-frame is just different, they won't be able to make progress just because they are not effectual reasoners

On the other hand, there's the chance of finding executives who are entrepreneurial. Perhaps people who's companies were bought and ended higher up in the corporate ladder, and want to give their next steps in a new organization.

In any case, this does not mean executives can't be a good match for a startup, it just means they must be onboarded once the context is the proper one.


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Aquiles Carattino
Aquiles Carattino
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