EPISODE 10 – Part 2/2
With Aaron Levie, CEO & Co-Founder of Box
By Ashu Garg
Aaron tells me how to scale your company while maintaining its culture and the benefits of going public.
I continue my conversation with Box co-founder and CEO Aaron Levie, focusing on company growth. He tells me how he maintained company culture as Box scaled, why bringing on a COO was integral to achieving that scale, the pros and cons of going public, and he gives some advice to enterprise entrepreneurs on how to compete against the established tech giants.
Your company can’t scale if everything has to go through the CEO. Figure out what you do well and delegate your weaknesses.
Once Aaron decided that he wanted to be Box’s CEO, the decision to hire a COO was an easy and obvious one. A COO allowed Aaron to focus on the parts of the job he enjoyed doing and who had the experience Aaron, as a young, first-time CEO, lacked.
The hard part was finding a COO who fit in with Box’s company culture and who Aaron would work well with.
As Box expanded, Aaron realized that establishing and reinforcing company culture was necessary, especially for new hires coming from other companies with their own values.
Aaron didn’t know anything about product-market fit when he was building Box. He thinks a product is ready for the market once:
Use customer feedback to improve and refine your product until you think it’s polished enough to sell and then scale.
Aaron is in favor of going public—at the right time.
It’s harder to make and justify long-term investments when you have a public demanding short-term gains.
Box started with a product that did something the brand-name enterprise companies didn’t and couldn’t imitate quickly enough. Aaron says enterprise entrepreneurs have to find the right gap in the market to go up against companies like Amazon and Microsoft.
Published on 03.19.2019
Written by Ashu Garg