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CEO Advice on Growth Barriers: The FreeThink@Harvard Panel

December 17, 2011

One of the highlights of 2011 for me was a panel I ran at Harvard called  “Growth Companies: Succeeding Beyond the Start-up Phase” featuring Brian Halligan, CEO of Hubspot, and Diane Hessan, CEO of Communispace.  In addition to having some fun we were all surprised at how much ground we covered on this important topic in about 40 minutes.  Thanks to Freethink@Harvard you can see a complete videotape of the panel via this link.

 Dave Power, Diane Hessan, Brian Halligan at FreeThink@Harvard

After a brief review of why growth companies stop growing  Diane and Brian zeroed in on how everything changes as you evolve from startup to growth company:



Being an entrepreneur

Being a CEO

Managing cash flow

Managing a P&L

One product in one market

Many products in many markets

Knowing all of your employees, customer, problems

Knowing “none of that”

A team of utility players

A team of specialists


“Growing profitably”

Selling all the time

Building a scalable culture

Fundraising all the time

Managing a board

(adult day care?)

There was also some practical advice on:

– Defining company values with the help of employees,

– Not ‘shooting’ the founder

– Leaving the ‘weekend voice mail’

– Whether to be like Steve Jobs

– Knowing yourself as a leader

But don’t let me give it all away – watch this panel to learn from two of Boston’s most successful growth company leaders.

Follow Dave on Twitter: @WDavidPower

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