Why The Days Of The Parachute CEO Are Dead, From The World's Most Overqualified Project Manager

When Huge CEO Aaron Shapiro first started working with tech startups, he learned an essential lesson: if you don't know how every aspect of your company works, you can't be a good executive.

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14 Comments

  • HugeWasTheWorst

    I remember him just being a control freak. In lack of being able to communicate what he expected in projects and definitely not having the skills to do things himself, he was acting as an annoying pm/art director/programmer. Can't believe why HUGE ever survived...

  • George

    I sat and learnt how to code...jesus....is this for real..shalini sharma may need to get some good qualifications...

  • Kevin Doohan

    This is silly. Great CEOs are humble. Great CEOs drive focus and energy and build teams who drive growth. Great CEOs understand what drives the business but don't have to spend time doing the jobs of others. Great CEOs don't learn to code so they can identify great work from experts who code. Ridiculous.

  • getoveryourself

    This seems both condescending and inefficient. It seems to presume either that this guy is so smart he can do anything well or that everyone can be a stellar programmer. This attitude sets a horrible precedent for micro-management

  • Olivia

    Honestly, you don't actually need to know how to do something in order to manage or understand it. You can have a very good working knowledge of your projects without learning how to execute it yourself. If anything managers that get too hands on end up being a serious roadblock to projects as they end up being convinced they know how it should be done. A lot can be said for respecting your limitations and knowing what your role is in the team. I would never presume to tell my developers how they should do their job or worse sit beside them and back seat code because I happen to have learned a couple of things. This doesn't sound like a good way to go about things at all.

  • Jane Lindner

    This is great. Get to know the business you're in, even if you're greatest asset is communicating a vision to drive funding, or being a CEO.

    As a business strategist, it reminds me of a nagging thought I've always had from reading a Paul Graham article about "mistakes that kill start-ups." He never had an answer for this line:

    "...when I think about what killed most of the startups in the
    e-commerce business back in the 90s, it was bad programmers. A lot
    of those companies were started by business guys who thought the way startups worked was that you had some clever idea and then hired programmers to implement it. That's actually much harder than it sounds—almost impossibly hard in fact—because business guys can't tell which are the good programmers. They don't even get a shot at the best ones, because no one really good wants a job implementing the vision of a business guy."

    When the answer is: learn to code, get the knowledge. A lot of good programmers don't want to be their own boss and take on the responsibilities of getting funding or managing people. They do want to respect a business partner (employer or client) that understands their contribution.

    Very cool.

  • OW

    "Learning to code" is like saying you're learning to "build buildings" there's a number of specialties involved in creating a project. Perhaps the issue is that no one ever bothers to learn the difference so when they hire a "programmer" they never bother to find out what kind they need and hire anyone off the street. No two programmers are alike and learning to identify what you need is important. But learning to code yourself is silly you'll be poor at best and a complete distraction to your team as you run around speaking out of your ass about how "things should be done" and how "you can do it yourself" etc.

    Implementing a better process for how you hire and be a good employer. If you're a good employer you won't have issues finding talent.

  • mb

    Without weighing in on what anyone here is discussing, this argument is the clearest example of a non sequitur that I have ever seen. It could be taught in schools.

  • Sam Weston

    If you're going to speak on behalf of "everyone" at Huge it'd be great if you could share more than your initials so that we can determine how credible you are in making a claim like this. Speaking personally, Aaron's one of the smartest people I've worked with and has served as a mentor and inspiration to a large number of my colleagues at Huge. My sympathies if you personally had a bad experience. It's definitely not for everyone.

  • haha

    and has served as a mentor and inspiration to a large number of my colleagues at Huge.

    hahahahahhahahaha

  • ew

    Shapiro is a hack. People at Huge don't like or respect him and generally find him to be a creepy asshole. Bummer about the zit though. They should have shot him from the other side.