Heads up for two CEOs who call it like it is.
First award goes to Mark Suster, CEO of Koral, who blogs openly about his recent experience with some venture capitalists (VCs):
So I’m stuck with the paper shuffler and the Blackberry man. I am not kidding you when I say that I was on the verge of literally saying, “let’s just call this meeting a day. It’s clear you have no respect for me and no interest in my company.” I bit my tongue (which my wife will tell you is rare). I finished the next 15 painful minutes and said goodbye. My only regret … the $25 I had to pay to park in their building. They were seriously the most pompous, self-centered, unprofessional group of people that I have come across in a long time.
Beautiful. If you’ve ever done the investment banking or money raising thing, this story will ring true — especially the jackanape on the Blackberry. VC guys take note: You think CEOs are stupid and don’t notice when you’re acting like idiots?
Then there’s Bill Watkins, CEO of Seagate, who recently had these priceless quotes in an article with CNN:
“Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn…”. and “People worry that newspapers are going out of business. So what? It's the content that's important. No one gives a s**t about the delivery mechanism. Think about mail. You had the pony express, truck delivery, airmail, email. You don't care how it gets to you. I read more now than I ever did, but I get it off my PC. I don't need to go down to the end of the driveway and pick up the newspaper. It's the content that's most important.”
Here’s to CEOs who actually talk and write normally. Compare that to the uber-polished slicksters that pass for CEOs at so many companies — making only politically safe statements, peppered with the latest buzzwords and jargon.
Nobody ever wins anything worthwhile playing it safe.