What The Startup Founder’s Job Is Really About

Set the vision, hire the team, and fundraise.

Max Faldin
2 min readJun 5, 2023
Photo by Per Lööv on Unsplash

Last night I had dinner with an investor who asked an interesting question — what do founders of hyper-growth companies spend their deep work hours on?

In general, founders-CEOs do three things: set the vision, hire the team, and fundraising. But unlike corporate CEOs, the founder needs not only to set the vision but also to develop one. They don’t have boards and headquarters to provide them with a strategy.

In an ideal world, you develop a high-level performance spec and let your team create solutions. When founders have highly-capable C-level teams, they drive the learning curve of the business.

Before getting to this point, however, you often need to design solutions yourself. You give people a principle design of something you learned in the past or present and let them build systems and products based on the vision. Designing the solutions yourself, however, prevents you from spending enough time learning about the customer. The company’s long-term learning curve suffers.

It gets worse when your team is too junior to pick up on a principal design. The founder needs to do a certain amount of microdesigning. Obviously, they will never be able to microdesign everything. But they can — and oftentimes have to — create key elements of the business in detail. These instances tell founders a lot about their teams’ seniority gaps.

Founders being caught in microdesign seriously impedes the company’s learning curve. The only way out is bringing super-capable people on board. So C-level recruitment is another area founders spend a disproportional amount of time on. But it’s worth it: They say a minute spent on planning saves 12 minutes of execution. I’m unsure about that. But I think one minute spent on recruiting might save 50 or 100 minutes of deep work in the future.



Max Faldin

Founder & CEO of Silverbird | Serial Entrepreneur | Building a Digital Bank for Exporters & Importers | silverbird.com