Serial entrepreneur and Color founder Elad Gil joins Founder Real Talk to
share insights and his experiences in starting and building high growth start-
ups. We talk about how a founder’s role changes over time, how to build a team
that scales, and what conditions need to be in place for “high growth” to
happen. His recent book “High Growth Handbook” is a must-read for any startup
founder starting to scale up or hoping to get to that point one day. The book
is also highly relevant for executives at high growth startups.
Elad Gil is an entrepreneur, operating executive, and investor or advisor to
private companies such as Airbnb, Coinbase, Checkr, Gusto, Instacart,
OpenDoor, Pinterest, Square, Stripe, Wish, and others. He co-founded and is
the Chairman of Color Genomics, and was its CEO until December 2016. Before
that, he was the VP of Corporate Strategy at Twitter, where he also ran
various product (Geo, Search) and other operational teams (M&A and corporate
development). Elad joined Twitter via the acquisition of Mixer Labs, a company
where he was co-founder and CEO. Mixer Labs ran GeoAPI, one of the early
developer-centric platform infrastructure products. Elad spent many years at
Google, where he started the mobile team and was involved in all aspects of
getting that team up and running. He was involved with three acquisitions
(including the Android team) and was the original Product Manager for Google
Mobile Maps and other key mobile products. Elad received his Ph.D. from the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has degrees in Mathematics and
Biology from the University of California, San Diego.
Highlights from the episode:
3:18 What is your definition of “high growth” and what does it look like when
a company is in that stage?
5:32 What conditions must be met before a company reaches “high growth?”
7:06 What is the role of a founder/CEO in a high growth situation? How do CEO
priorities change as the company scales?
9:03 How should a founder/CEO of a high growth company define “winning?”
10:36 What types of skills does a leader need to develop as the company
12:14 Any tips for time management?
14:20 Is it important to have a chief of staff? What should someone look for
in that role?
17:31 Do you think CEO coaches are helpful? Do you think mentors are helpful?
18:28 How do you know when to add a specific executive? Which executives
should be priority hires?
19:19 What is the best way to ensure you’re hiring the right person?
22:45 How do you think about the tradeoff between functional expertise and
culture fit in hiring for an executive position?
25:03 What is the role of an independent board member? What traits should you
be looking for in this role?
27:23 How should a founder think about the process of looking for a CEO?
29:44 When thinking about financings, do you recommend founders accept capital
before they reach defined milestones? What are the pros and cons?
32:11 What’s a favorite book or blog you recommend for founders?
32:44 Name a growth stage company you admire and why?
33:42 What piece of advice were you given as an entrepreneur that served you