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Making all the decisions yourself  

Stephen Wolfram:

I insist on really understanding everything. And, you know, every time I don't, something ends up being wrong.

I think that's a general feature of at least my style of running a company. At the beginning the CEO does everything. But gradually as you understand things, you can hire other people to do them.

I know people who favour both this style of company management (known in the E-myth parlance as "delegate, don't abdicate"), and the other.

What's the other? It's the style where you surround yourself with amazing people who work really well together, and let them make their own decisions. As a founder, doing this requires you to be really good at recognising amazing people and helping them work together, though, which is easy to fail at. The other style is easier, and probably a better choice for new founders.

Fundamentally, you can trace back those two philosophies to Taylorism, where every important decision is centralised to the CEO and the rest of the company implements his wishes, and modern management, where important decisions are pushed down to those "closest to the coal-face". Both systems work, but the latter has been proven to be a better way, if not the only way, of building very large companies.

Google couldn't run if Larry Page and Sergei Bryn had to make all the important decisions themselves, for example.

In any case, this talk is well worth a read. Enjoy.

More from the library:
Email-first startups
Process cults
The steep startup learning curve