Foodspotting CEO And Cofounder Alexa Andrzejewski On Wearing Other People’s Hats

What did you learn in 2012 that will carry over to 2013?

“Before you ask, “What does this person do all day?” spend a day doing it yourself.

“My startup, Foodspotting, turned two in 2012–ancient in startup time. This inevitably meant saying goodbye to a few great people who got that Silicon Valley itch to start something new. It also meant that I, the CEO, found myself wearing a few hats I hadn’t worn in a while as we searched for each person’s replacement. While founders’ humble beginnings involve being the bookkeeper, the community manager, and the “visionary” all at once, the downside of learning to delegate (as important as that is) is that you can quickly lose touch with what each role involves–or how it’s evolved a few million users later.

“But as I slogged my way through critical functions like customer support, data moderation, PR coordination, and graphic asset creation, I regretted every paranoid thought that had ever crossed my mind. Being forced to walk a mile in each of my former team members’ “hats” has given me a new appreciation for everything each person contributed. As we fill these roles, it’s a lesson I don’t want to quickly forget. So the next time I wonder why that blog post is taking so long or why more place edits aren’t being approved, I’ll spend a day doing it myself. Perhaps I’ll identify some process improvements. Perhaps I’ll just build empathy.

“But for sure, next year, I’m not going to wait until it’s too late to appreciate what each person does all day. (Thanks, Team Foodspotting, for the best year yet!)”

More Lessons for 2013 from some of today’s most innovative business thought leaders here.CC