"The thing with unicorn CEOs is they face a very unique set of challenges," Tyto CEO Brendon Craigie tells Doug Simon. "Just to give you an example, one of our clients has gone from the first employee to 800 employees in two years."
Craigie says being in that type of situation can be like finding yourself in the middle of a "communications perfect storm." The hurdles that unicorn CEO are confronted with go from "having to be a bit of a street fighter" when the company is starting out, to the shift in behavior expected once the unicorn milestone has been reached.
Internally, a big part of the focus needs to be on successful team-building. "They need to get a fast-growing team of people, often spread around the world, behind the vision, behind the values of the company." He says that learning to delegate is also a management challenge.
Unicorn CEOs, Craigie says, need to deal with working in the spotlight. "Often in the early years of a technology company, a lot rests on the reputation of a founder," Craigie says. "And as a consequence, they almost become the chief communications officer within the business."
That is often made more difficult by the fact that "these individuals often come from an engineering background or they come from a scientific background, and they're not necessarily natural-born communicators, and they're often really young as well."
CEOs at hypergrowth companies need to keep an eye on a company's future reputation, even at the start. "You need to really think about the legacy of your words so that when you are one of these companies with thousands of employees, you've not been so outspoken that you're going to alienate people in a future iteration of your business."
He tells Simon that one advantage tech companies is that they "embrace the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. So, they kind of see mistakes as being the stepping stone to an improvement." Also, "in the world of technology, you're often grappling with subject matter which is very complex, and you have to be able to try and tell your story in a very authentic way that can be understood by lots of different people."
Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at [email protected]