Startup Founder VS. Company Creator

Below is a quote from one of the online discussions:

    […] with all my huge respect for Meg, she did not create eBay. She has been its CEO for a long time, she bought PayPal, she developed its business – but when she joined, it was already a successful established company.

Gregory Gromov: If you want to talk about company founders, then of course Meg is not eBay founder, otherwise I would have called her in my post “eBay’s co-founder”. Whereas I wrote – read carefully – “the lady who was creating eBay”.

I believe there are good reasons to call Meg that.

When she came to eBay, it employed a few dozens people, with the sales volume in a few millions. Can’t recall exactly, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t make even $10 mln at the time.

I’ll agree that by then – late ‘90s – E-Bay was already a successful established company. True, but it was exactly under Meg’s leadership that in the next 10 years E-Bay has become world-known, with thousands employed and billions in trade volume

It happens quite often that a team that shone at the start would suddenly hit the wall to a large-scale transition when time comes to reap the fruit of early success.

This is an obstacle that only a few can overcome, especially since there are just not enough Megs and Erics for every startup – even in the Silicon Valley.

But I am sure that neither Meg Whitman nor Eric Schmidt would even try to create a startup of their own, because they are fully aware that this is not their strong suit, where the art of business is concerned. I would also suggest that under no circumstances either of them would have succeeded in that.

Yet one can argue that eBay would have reached their current world status if Meg Whitman had not come to lead it in 1998 – in the exactly right moment when, like a newborn chick, they were picking their way out of the startup’s eggshell. Ditto for Google headed by Eric Schmidt in 2001.

Even by 2001, three years afer Google was founded, its sales volume stood at $19 mln with the expenses at $34 mln.

Let us also bear in mind that it was taking place amid the turn-of-the-century crisis when not only freshly hatched dot-coms collapsed, but the respectable established industry leaders were starting to crumble as well.

And in this dramatic moment, like a fairy-tale knight in shining armor, the Grandmaster of Managerial Arts and Sciences Eric Schmidt rides into Google’s field of vision.

10 years later, Schmidt has trained young founding fathers in the ABCs of management and built up Google – and then, and not a moment earlier, the company”s co-founder Larry Page wished to take back the CEO chair…

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