The Problem With Adam Neumann: When A King Wants To Be Rich

If you’re raising venture capital funding, expect to be asked the question, “Do you want to be rich, or do you want to be king?” Some VC’s use those exact words, others will ask questions to find the answer, but nearly every VC wants to know if a founder is driven more by profit or control. Some people hoard equity (or board seats) like Gollum from Lord Of The Rings and his “precious.” As Noam Wasserman put it:  “Founders are usually convinced that only they can lead their startups to success. ‘I’m the one with the vision and the desire to build a great company. I have to be the one running it,’ several entrepreneurs have told me. There’s a great deal of truth to that view. At the start, the enterprise is only an idea in the mind of its founder, who possesses all the insights about the opportunity; about the innovative product, service, or business model that will capitalize on that opportunity; and about who the potential customers are.” There is a balance between relinquishing control to grow a firm, and maintaining enough power to be able to steer the ship. Sometimes, – perhaps more often than VC’s want to believe – a founder maintaining more control may help the bottom line. People often point out Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. But few founders will be Gates or Jobs, and many founders will hold onto control of companies even when that control is detrimental to long term success.  In…The Problem With Adam Neumann: When A King Wants To Be Rich