2013 Prediction: Firing CEOs, Rethinking Innovation, Reviving Inspiration
Lots of people said plenty of things to me about my strong takes in that piece. I'll use this article to address a few of them throughout the narrative.
I had hoped to get to one key point during my CNBC appearance from Tuesday, but, as is often the case, time was short and so am I.
First, I like to think I weave a clear overarching theme throughout the various articles I publish on TheStreet praising and criticizing CEOs and other executives. Sometimes it pays to be explicit.
We're looking at two tracks here.
Neither of these guys should leave their company. They should be fired as CEO and, for shareholders and the greater good, officially titled "Founder and Chief Strategy Officer."
They're both sharp visionaries. They're both brilliant guys. Pincus, for example, should spend hours each day sitting under a tree -- alone -- in the middle of a beautiful college campus thinking. Then he should run back to Zynga headquarters as quickly as he can and engage a small team meeting to brainstorm that vision he just had.
While Hastings is more of a "businessman" and credible public person than Pincus, the same type of deal applies. Bring somebody in who can be CEO and CEO only. Somebody who can do the traditional things CEOs do as to allow the visionary time to vision.
Completely different stories. These companies need injections of youth and true startup culture. They need the visionary to be the CEO for a while. Right the ship. Navigate the wholesale transformation. Head down. Ignore the media with the exception of the faction that's on your side. Ride the wave. Once it starts working, step back, hire a Sheryl Sandberg-type and slide into the role that Hastings and Pincus need to be in now.
These two tracks feel painfully obvious to me.
I believe more than anything that, come 2013 -- or sometime in this decade (!) -- this will dawn on more than a few companies. Plenty of companies, particularly in tech and retail are struggling. Across spaces they're fighting to cut through, in a world that's changing faster than ever thanks, primarily, to mobility. They see what's going on around them; they can no longer sit still.