Naval Explains Why You Don’t Need to be CEO | Naval Ravikant on the Mochary Method Videocast

Watch the full video interview on YouTube

Key Takeaways

  • You do not have to be a CEO to be an effective founder
    • Naval at AngelList reallocated the CEO responsibilities in people management so he could focus on the company from a creative and innovative perspective
    • To be a founder, you have to be world-class in something. Make sure you’re spending the majority of your time doing that thing; this is your ‘zone of genius’. Not compromising will allow you to be a valuable contributor for a much more extended period of time and avoid burnout.
      • Believe it or not, there are passionate people that are world-class in the work you don’t enjoy doing. Outsource this work to the right people.
  • Free time is an incredibly valuable asset – a full calendar can be good for productivity but not creativity
    • Creativity starts with an empty calendar, but eventually, your calendar gets filled up with execution and a busy calendar is the death of creativity
    • “Having control of your time in a creative job, assuming you’re self-motivated, is the ultimate hack” – Naval Ravikant
    • “Be free of mind and free of time. Boredom leads to creativity.” – Naval Ravikant
      • You never know when being free will allow you to execute on your ‘zone of genius’
  • The companies that succeed are always reinventing themselves and their products
    • Regardless of positional title, creative people within a company need to have the opportunity to control their time in a way that optimizes and maximizes their creative potential
    • If you let operations bog down the subconscious mind of a creator, their creations will never come to fruition

Intro

  • Naval Ravikant (@naval) is an entrepreneur, investor, and the co-founder/former CEO of AngelList; he is also a prominent voice on Twitter with over 1.4 million followers who come for his takes on technology, life, and the future. Naval discusses how stepping down as a CEO helped prioritize his skills over the title which led to continued and greater company and personal success.
  • Check out more Podcast Notes with Naval Ravikant
  • Host: Matt Mochary (@mattmochary)

Being a CEO

  • Traditional CEO: raise money, communicate the strategy, recruit and retain the team
    • Product CEOs: provide product vision
    • Sales CEOs: provide sales leadership
  • Discussing burdens as a CEO is hard as our board could lose faith in you and your employees could stop following you
    • Incredible pressure, because many times the investors are investing in the founder just as much as the product
    • “It’s an incredibly lonely job” – Naval Ravikant
  • CEO is the job you take because there is no other choice, you don’t trust anyone but yourself to make the venture successful
    • CEO is a high-stress, people management role. Naval realized that he wasn’t maximumly effective in this role; it wasn’t his passion.
      • “You’re the company psychiatrist, you’re always dealing with people issues” – Naval Ravikant
    • If you don’t want to do it, you’re never going to be great at it
  • The Great CEO Within: The Tactical Guide to Company Building by Matt Mochary
    • It offers a methodical approach to being a CEO

Outsourcing the Subjective Unpleasant

  • If you’re the founder of a company, you’re probably world-class in something
    • “You want to spend all your time on that thing. And everything else is a necessary evil that should be outsourced” – Naval Ravikant
    • There is someone out there that is world-class in the things you don’t want to do
      • Don’t just hire off of skill though, you will only truly hand over the reins if you believe they have a like-minded ‘founder mentality’
  • Naval recruits founders who have failed through no fault of their own
    • An example could be a founder who had the best product in a category that just didn’t have a market fit
    • These people have a ‘founder mentality’ and haven’t been burnt out yet

Zone of Genius

  • ‘Zone of genius’ is the time you commit to the tasks you enjoy most
    • Creativity starts with an empty calendar, but eventually, your calendar gets filled up with execution and a busy calendar is the death of creativity
    • Free time is an incredibly valuable asset – a full calendar can be good for productivity but not creativity
      • “Be free of mind and free of time. Boredom leads to creativity.” – Naval Ravikant
        • Your subconscious mind is almost always distracted, give it time to breathe and create
      • Be an engaged opportunist with your skills and time – you never know when being free will allow you to execute on your ‘zone of genius’
        • You can stay engaged for decades by focusing on the things you love doing
  • The companies that succeed are always reinventing themselves and their products
    • “Picking the right direction to go in is way more important than how hard you work” – Naval Ravikant

Let It Go

  • Naval had a ton of fear that the company would fall apart as a result of him stepping down from CEO
    • Founders sometimes feel like the company survives on their ‘force of will’ alone before they find product-market fit
  • Naval’s personal life went from a 2/10 as CEO to a 10/10 after giving up the CEO role
    • “If I had to articulate how happy I am today, you’d have to lock me up, you can’t have people this happy running around in society” – Naval Ravikant
    • He has engineered his life exactly the way he wants it with no compromises
  • Naval no longer keeps a calendar but is busy all day long. But, he prioritizes whatever feels most important to him at that moment.
    • Even when you have to do unpleasant things, at least you do them without them being forced upon you
    • You can only live this lifestyle if you’re willing to disappoint people’s initial expectations of you
  • “Having control of your time in a creative job, assuming you’re self-motivated, is the ultimate hack”– Naval Ravikant

Naval's Podcast and Periscope Sessions : , , , , , , ,
Notes By Drew Waterstreet

More Notes on these topics

Top Insights and Tactics From

31 Best Podcasts of All Time

FREE when you join over 25,000 subscribers to the
Podcast Notes newsletter

No Thanks