Startup CXO — Matt Blumberg's sequel to Startup CEO — is a “book of books,” with one section for each major function inside a company. Each section is composed of 15-20 discrete short chapters outlining the key “playbooks” for each functional role in the company — Chief People Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Revenue Officer, etc., hence the title Startup CXO - which is a generally accepted label in the startup ecosystem for “Chief ____ Officer.”
As I finished up my work on the Second Edition of Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business that I shared a chapter of on The Line last year and started working on a new startup, my colleagues and I started envisioning a new book as a sequel or companion to Startup CEO that is going to be published on June 9 with our same publisher, Wiley & Sons. The book is called Startup CXO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Company’s Critical Functions and Teams.
Simply put, the first book left me with the nagging feeling that it wasn’t enough to only help CEOs excel, because starting and scaling a business is a collective effort. What about the other critical leadership functions that are needed to grow a company? If you’re leading HR, or Finance, or Marketing, or any key function inside a startup, what resources are available to you? What should you be thinking about? What does ‘great’ look like? What challenges lurk around the corner as you scale your function that you might not be focused on today? If you’re a CEO who has never managed all these functions before, what should you be looking for when you hire and manage all these people? If you’re an aspiring executive, from entry-level to manager to director, what do you need to think about as you grow your career and develop your skills?
This is an important topic to write about at this particular time because America’s “startup revolution” continues to gather steam. There are only increasing numbers of venture capital investors, seed funds, and accelerators supporting increasing numbers of entrepreneurial ventures. While there are a number of books in the marketplace about CEOs and leadership, and some about individual functional disciplines (lots of books about the topic of Sales, the topic of Product Development), there are very few books that are practical how-to guides for any individual function, and NONE that wrap all these functions into a compendium that can be used by a whole startup executive team. Very simply, each section of this book serves as a how-to guide for a given executive, and taken together, the book will be a good how-to guide for startup executive teams in general.
Startup CXO has my name on it as principal author, and I’m writing parts of it, but I can’t even pretend to write it on my own, so the book has a large number of contributors who have the experience, credibility, and expertise to share something of value with others in their specific functional disciplines — most of my Bolster cofounders are writing sections, and the others are being written by former Return Path executive colleagues — Jack Sinclair, Cathy Hawley, Ken Takahashi, Anita Absey, George Bilbrey, Dennis Dayman, Nick Badgett, Shawn Nussbaum, and Holly Enneking.
Startup CXO is also pretty closely related to Bolster’s business, since we are in the business of helping assess and place on-demand CXO talent, and as such, the final section of the book has a series of chapters written by Bolster members who are career Fractional Executives about their experience as a Fractional CXO.
Matt is the founder and CEO of Bolster, the marketplace for on-demand executive talent. Prior to that, Matt was CEO of Return Path. He serves as Board Chair of the nonprofit Path Forward. He is the author of Startup CEO: A field guide to scaling up your business (based on his blog StartupCEO.com), StartupCXO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Company's Critical Functions and Teams, and co-author of the forthcoming Second Edition of Startup Boards with Brad Feld and Mahendra Ramsinghani, to be published fall 2021 by Wiley & Sons.