27 September 2014

The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same

Oracle founder Larry Ellison hands off CEO title to Hurd and Catz, takes executive chairman role

Is this good for the company?  Should investors head for cover? (Stock is down 5% as of the date of this article.) Is that good for Mark Hurd or Safra Catz, the two who are left to co-run the company?  Will anything change at Oracle?  Is change necessary at Oracle?

Many questions remain in the now heralded changing of the guard at this venerable tech company.
But Ellison's own statements leave me to believe that nothing really will change at Oracle post his departure.

Question # 1 - Has there ever been a company in the history of capitalism that was successfully run by two people?  Come on Larry!  Make the tough decision on your successor put ONE person in charge. Don't leave it up to the two of them to have to politically joust to make important decisions.

Question # 2 - Why are you leaving if things are going to remain the same?  If there is a reason for you to leave then leave and get out of the way.  Let your very capable executives take the company to the next stage.  Let them make the changes that you WOULDN'T have made.  Let them be free to determine what needs to stay the same and what needs to change.  Get out of their way.

While the article details that not much is changing in the way of Ellison's day to day responsibilities, one has to wonder WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?

20 September 2014

Self Aware Founders are the Exception not the Rule

But Mark Suster (of Upfront Ventures) is a visionary (now VC) who understands that sometimes extricating yourself from the role is best for you and the company.  The backseat driver syndrome that he describes is the least helpful behavior for all involved.  An excerpt from his 2011 blog post still resonates today ...

He said that when talking with the board and with investors he realized that he was no longer visionary in this particular field and certainly no longer passionate about it. It happens. But since he was still the CEO people still always looked for him to set the direction of the company. He was the founder, after all. He realized he needed to leave.

11 September 2014

For Immediate Release:

Trachtman Commits to Scribing Book about The Dirty Secrets of Succeeding Company Founders

Why this process often goes awry

September 11, 2014

Annapolis, MD – Les Trachtman, most recently CEO of Crofton, Maryland-based Force 3, Inc. is writing his long awaited book on the dirty secrets of company founder succession.  He recently launched a Kickstarter campaign in which he committed to a Fall 2015 delivery date for the book.  The book is entitled: FOUNDed.

“The topic – at least the truth – about how founders get replaced and why many of these successions fail is not often talked about.  But every company has a founder and many of the more successful ones ultimately get replaced, sometimes more than once.  How, when, and by whom they get replaced can be the difference between wealth and failure,” Trachtman said.  “I’ve now done this five separate times, sit on the board of a third generation family company, and have talked to hundreds of founders and CEOs who succeeded them. I feel compelled to share this knowledge to enable founders, boards, investors, and professional CEOs how to increase their odds of doing this well."

The recent return of Michael Bloomberg to his eponymous company and the ensuing departure of the current CEO, Daniel Doctoroff, recently has again focused international attention on the company founder-successor issue. Trachtman’s experience is dead on when it comes to these kinds of topics.

The book with chapter titles including:  The Emperor Has No Clothes, Doing the Dirty Work, Family Matters, Can’t Anybody Here Play this game, and Try Before You Buy is bound to be a fun and compelling tale of Trachtman’s advice intertwined among his real-life stories and anecdotes of the good and the bad that he has experienced.

FOUNDed. is due out in Fall 2015.  Pre-orders, as well as author-inscribed copies are available on Kickstarter until October 31, 2014.

About Les Trachtman

Les Trachtman is the majority shareholder of Purview, LLC, an entrepreneurial endeavor focused on disrupting the business of medical imaging. Prior to that Les served in a serial progression as CEO of five ventures in each replacing the founder/CEO. Force 3, Active Endpoints, e-OneHundred Group, Transcentive and Metaserver, He’s led corporate development for Progress Software (PRGS) and Hyperion Solutions. Les serves on the board of directors of The Metro Group, where he is the sole non-family board member of a 90-year-old family corporation and serves as the Entrepreneur in Residence at Union College. Les received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Union College and a JD and MBA from Emory University.

To learn more about this book go to:

For more information contact Les Trachtman

04 September 2014

Mike Bloomberg Returns

Mike Bloomberg did no favors for his friend Mr. Doctoroff who left  his role as CEO rather than succumb to political pressure from insiders imbued with power from Bloomberg. This pressure was apparently enough to thwart any changes that Doctoroff attempted. Trends like this follow most founder returns.  And this one hits pretty close to home.

Cook at Apple is much better off (and performance shows).  No one around to second guess him. No wonder he is smiling.