CEO diary: What it’s like to run a company remotely

March 21, 2020

Featuring great piece from VentureBeat earlier this week:

My team has gone remote, we’ve had to cancel events, and I’ve had to rethink every part of my business. This is a diary of one of the most challenging weeks I’ve ever faced as a founder and CEO.

Monday 16th March

Walking on the beach with the dog at 6:30 am allows time to think about how I’m going to communicate to 5,000 customers that we have to postpone a number of our events.

A quick call with my leadership coach gives me a reassuring boost that our offense and defense are sound, and that this crisis can galvanize the team.

After a long video call with marketing, we decide on an email and a blog post announcing our SaaS conference postponements. It’s tough to write but an easy decision. Our priority is to keep everyone safe.

The usual 1-2-1s get scrapped. OKRs are ripped up. The new focus is how people are feeling and how we can create a virtual conference.

I record an episode of The SaaS Revolution Show Podcast with my guest, You Mon Tsang, CEO of customer success platform Churnzero. My Doberman bursts in during the recording, and my daughter joins while I’m catching up with our business operations manager. Interesting times!

Tuesday 17th

I look at our finances and sources of cash and where we can save. But I’m asking, what are we bridging to — a three- or six-month crisis or longer?

I find myself contemplating how I would feel if the business folds.

I have some tough conversations with long-time contractors as we have no choice other than to pause all agreements. Most understand and say they were expecting it.

But later I get excited about launching a virtual conference. I now have a project and my mission becomes how do we become the leader of virtual events.

We have our first weekly staff meeting on Zoom. The usual agenda has been ripped up. No team updates. Instead I address the company about postponements, shift in focus, and how to work from home. The mood is somber.

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