Leadership lessons: 11 CEOs that gave the best advice in 2017

by Liz Warren
December 26, 2017

When you’re surrounded by smart, successful people, you’re bound to learn a lot. We’re constantly sitting down with some of NYC’s most innovative founders and CEOs, and they’ve all brought a unique perspective to the table. Here’s some of the best advice we’ve gotten from leaders in the NYC tech space.

 

 

David Greenberg
Founder and CEO

Share ideas early on.

“As a former lawyer, my original instinct was to protect my idea instead of sharing it openly. Early on, I missed valuable opportunities to get feedback from potential users and early adopters. Engaging experts in different industries provided me with invaluable perspective — there are a ton of folks I often thank who helped me along the way.”

 

Dennis Mortensen
CEO

Talent is everything.

“The city really attracts the best talent in the country — and perhaps even the world. NYC is so attractive to people that they’ll come from all over to live here. This has been paramount to our success. No matter how great your idea or how much money you raise in funding, none of it really matters if you can’t assemble a good team around you.”

 

Jeremy Johnson
Co-founder and CEO

Be your company’s biggest champion.

“Over the past three years, we’ve helped prove to the world that brilliance is evenly distributed. It’s now time to prove that our model of investing in extraordinary people isn’t just viable, but revolutionary.”

 

Find your passion.

“Don't seek to disrupt an established industry just because — make sure it’s an industry and idea you are personally passionate about.”

 

Lindsey Taylor Wood
Co-founder and CEO

Stay committed to making systemic change.

“We’ve encountered a staggering number of people who feel that, because we are in the midst of a cultural conversation around sexism and misogyny in Silicon Valley, somehow the problem has been taken care of. Creating systemic change requires sustained action; it requires hiring, mentoring and investing in women. It requires different investors, vehicles, voices and approaches to both funding and innovation. The Helm is tackling all of those things and we are in it for the long haul.”   

 

Ryan Smith
Co-founder and CEO

Tap into the industry early on.

“We have a very special opportunity to define, rather than disrupt, this industry from the very beginning. As the market continues to grow, it's very important for us to be in all the states where our clients need our support.”

 

David Klein
Co-founder and CEO

Manage the way you want to be managed.

“My favorite former manager struck the perfect balance between providing direction to her team and giving us the freedom to take ownership of our projects and run with them. I learned that this balance, when it's done well, is what works best for leading teams.”

 

Stay focused.

“Be passionate about the problem you are trying to solve and never lose focus. You’ll find hurdles and bumps along the way. Those who remain focused have a greater probability for success.”

 

Andrew Hoag
Founder and CEO

Honor boundaries.

“On Sunday, I completely turn off. I don't open emails, check Slack notifications or try to respond to anything. I find it's really important to have a day completely away, and even the smallest peek at your inbox can interrupt that recuperation.”

 

Drew Austin
Founder and CEO

Know when to pivot.

“We were originally named “WeCruit.” After one too many conversations that started with ‘Wait, what? Recruit?,’ we pivoted to Wade & Wendy.”

 

Alec Oxenford
CEO

Never lose sight of your product for the sake of revenue.

“Revenue potential for Letgo is huge and we are focused on building a profitable business, but our top priority will always be ensuring Letgo remains a great place to buy and sell.”

 

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