Holiday Season Book Pairing Recommendation: Startup CXO + Lead Upwards

As the winter holiday season kicks off, I’m still smiling from a fireside chat I had the privilege of co-hosting a few weeks ago with the one and only startup CEO and author Matt Blumberg and the fantastic team at Bolster, including Cathy Hawley and Andrea Ponchione. 

The chat was a conversation between Matt and me focused on topics in our complementary books, Matt’s outstanding Startup CXO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Company’s Critical Functions and Teams and my book Lead Upwards: How Startup Joiners Can Impact New Ventures, Build Amazing Careers, and Inspire Great Teams.

I’ve long admired Matt and his work and have dogeared copies of each of his books on my shelves, including the excellent new Second Edition of Startup Boards by Brad Feld, Mahendra Ramsinghani, and Matt Blumberg.

As a primer for startup leaders who want to succeed in their functions, and for startup CEOs and others who want to better manage their CXOs/build functions up, Startup CXO is an invaluable resource. I wrote Lead Upwards hoping that it would be a helpful way finder for people like me – growing startup executives who want to make an impact. CXO is an essential exec startup leadership functional guide, and our books as companion reading just makes sense.

Holiday gift idea: Startup CXO by Matt Blumberg and Lead Upwards by Sarah E. Brown

Order Startup CXO HERE and Lead Upwards HERE

Matt, the Bolster team, and I had the idea to host our session as a fireside chat in order to explicitly put our experiences and our books in conversation, calling it “Startup Leadership: Startup CXO Meets Lead Upwards,” tackling topics for startup leaders like:

  • Career Progression – creative paths/journeys we’ve seen to the executive level in startups and why those paths work.
  • “Managing the CEO” – As a startup leader, how do you manage the work relationship with your CEO? As a CEO, how do you attune to your teams and decide the cases it’s time they attune to you? Is it certain roles that must attune to you (ex. An EA) but your direct reports you learn their styles?
  • How to quit as a CXO or let a CXO go – Two weeks’ notice is not the way to go, as Matt and I agree. Executives can’t just up and quit with “two weeks’ notice” — AND executives need to be mentally prepared to be shown the door when they resign. Also, as a CEO, how do you know when an exec isn’t scaling or working out? How do you think about exiting them from the business?
  • And more!

[Watch The Recording] Startup Leadership: A Fireside Chat

I hope you enjoy these as a part of your holiday reading for yourself or perhaps as a gift to your team. Full disclosure: Matt and I share the same incredible editorial team at Wiley (shout-out to Bill Falloon and the team). Happy holidays!

P.S. Matt recently published a generous and thoughtful review of Lead Upwards on his fantastic blog. Check it out

Introducing my new book Power to the Startup People: How To Grow Your Startup Career When You’re Not The Founder

Power to the Startup People: How to Grow Your Startup Career When You're Not the Founder

I’m thrilled to share that my new book Power to the Startup People: How to Grow Your Startup Career When You’re Not The Founder launches today! This book has been two years in the making and would not have been possible without the incredible help and support of so many of my friends, family, and members of our startup community.

In today’s tech startup world, career paths are nonlinear. A startup career can be rewarding, but it often can be challenging and confusing. While a ton of ink has been spilled on how to “crush it” as a founder or startup leader, there’s very little in the way of guidance for how employees can hack our own careers. If we’re lucky, we find mentors who have had careers we admire. But we may never find these people. Or, if we do, it may be too late, or their expertise in the particular area with which we need help may be limited.

Entrepreneurs get the lion’s share of glory, but much of the work is done by us: the contributors, the team. This book was born out of my desire to find answers to my own questions about how to have the best startup career possible, while ideally avoiding some pitfalls that, unfortunately, are hard to foresee unless you have a direct mentor relationship with someone who has experienced a similar situation.

I wrote this book from the vantage point of being a startup employee who wants to navigate my career as successfully as possible, while enjoying the journey along the way. While this book is not by any means exhaustive, it will hopefully help readers make more sense of the world of tech startups and make better decisions about their careers along the way.

I have a greater purpose for sharing this information. I truly believe that we, the startup people, hold the power of the tech industry in our hands. By taking command of our own startup careers, we will make a greater impact at the companies that are shaping our future. As the world grapples with questions about the nature of technology in our lives, with concerns about privacy and data and our looming automated economy, we, the employees who make this ecosystem work, will have to decide which companies deserve our time, sweat, and tears. My goal for publishing this book is to give us more choices and more power to shape our own destiny, so that we can in turn enrich the tech ecosystem with our talents. Power to the startup people!

Order now on Amazon

Thank you for reading! I look forward to hearing what you think of the book. If you enjoy the book and find it to be helpful, please leave a review on Amazon–it truly helps. Thank you! Sarah