Should you keep the founder title?Follow @jdh
When I founded my first company, I referred to myself as “founder and CEO”, and in retrospect, I believe it was a mistake. Were I to do it over again, I would de-emphasize my founder status.
The benefit of keeping the founder title accrues more notably to more junior founders: if the company grows and over time people are hired above you, it offers ego compensation to keep that founder tag on your business card alongside “product manager”, if you’ve effectively been demoted from VP of Product. This seems less relevant for a CEO, who should get sufficient ego out of that title alone.
The reason I think it was a mistake to emphasize founder status is that I was essentially implicitly trying to say I was better than the other, non-founder employees. That I was special, and had something they would never had. But that benefit was right there in the cap table: I had the ownership of a founder, and that ought to be enough. And my naked self-interest was for every employee to act like an founder and work their ass off — so rather than feeding my ego with a founder title, I should have been giving everyone the founder title and hoping they’d stay all weekend to get the software release out.
Post prompted by this question on Quora.