What it means to be CEO

Ben Horowitz’s post on TechCruch is getting a lot of deserved attention. In a classic reflection on what it means to be CEO, he focuses less on the highs of the job and more on the challenges and their resulting states of mind, giving some hard earned advice on how to deal.

Almost everything that he says in his post I can identify with, the post is that succinct.

But I do have one significant variation from his theme – and that is that unlike many CEOs I have the privilege of not really being 100% “lonely at the top”. Through the virtues of a great partnership with my co-founder and TOA’s CTO, Irad Carmi, I am never really alone.

Irad and I have a relationship of mutual respect, shared intellectual curiosity and ambition, collaboration and support. It has been the driving force behind our business and the most important factor of our success and growth. Our relationship is of equals on many levels – but by nature of my role – I am ‘first among equals’.

Irad respects and underpins my position as CEO and my role in that position – assuring a clarity of hierarchy and decision making and that ’the buck stops here’: final decisions and the responsibility for those decisions are ultimately mine (and as Ben says in his post – “it’s always my fault…”).

But in a complex twist – we also have a partnership of equals – and from the point of view of that partnership – not the roles we play in it – this means our interests are aligned and our voices are heard. And I always have someone whom I can trust completely and unconditionally, knowing that I can turn to him at a time of deliberation and know that I will get an opinion, an idea, advice, a thought, an encouragement, support that is ultimately selfless and driven by our mutual best interests.

Reading Ben’s post in TechCrunch I can only say how lucky I felt that I had that clear and unique advantage in my favor. My personal recommendation to those founder CEOs who maybe long for total control, but find themselves agonized and lonely: you would be much better off with a real partner at your side.

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Yuval Brisker is a Co-Founder and the CEO of TOA Technologies. He is a passionate technologist, a customer service advocate and the thought leader behind TOA’s unique focus on the Customer Experience through Customer Appointment Management. Before founding TOA, Yuval had extensive experience establishing, growing and managing various technology related ventures, at MaxBill, an international Telecom Billing software vendor based in Israel and Visual Information based in New York. Before founding Visual Information, Yuval practiced architecture in New York City.