Heart is Where The Startup Is

The other day, I read Sarah Lacy’s post on Romotive (a Techstars Company!) moving to the bay area, More Bad News for Vegas Tech Fund and it stirred the same feelings I had when I moved Graphicly from Boulder to the Bay Area.

I think the sentence that got me was in Keller’s email to the Downtown Project:

It’s my responsibility to make sure that Romotive is located where we are most likely to achieve this vision.

Most people who haven’t started a company think that there are simple decision points in deciding where that company should reside:

But it’s not that simple. What Keller did was right, he listened to his business. His business told him where the best place was for them to achieve their goals, and unfortunately, it wasn’t Las Vegas.

Like dowsers, great CEO’s have the ability to intrinsically listen to their companies, putting aside their egos and desires to do what is right for the business.

Even as they bury themselves with metrics and analytics and report to boards and investors, they continue to listen to that ache in their stomachs that tells them what actions to follow through with.

It’s like porn; you know it when you see it.

Moving a company is hard. There are people that can’t/won’t move. The community you are leaving looks at you askance and wonders why. your investors often came onboard because of where you were located.

It’s not you; it’s me.

When I moved Graphicly to the Bay Area, I was pretty quiet about it. I didn’t think it was a big deal, and I still have people that ask me why I moved from Boulder, especially because Boulder is seen as such a startup mecca.

It honestly had nothing to do with Boulder, much like Romotive’s move has nothing to do with Las Vegas.

As founders, our only jobs are to put our companies in the best position to succeed. That means a focus on raising money, recruiting talent and articulating the vision of the business.

Mostly, it means listening to the business and doing what is best for it.

Kudos to Keller for listening, and more importantly, acting.


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