Founding Entrepreneurs: To Thine Own Self be True

Ever since last winter JetBlue airlines has taken a beating. The company suffered through some painfully public operational issues that resulted in cancelling 1700 flights because of two winter storms. One well-publicized instance involved a passenger-packed plane stranded on the runway for 11 hours.

So last week David Neeleman, JetBlue’s founder and CEO, stepped aside in favor of his second in command. He is quoted in the Associated Press as saying “I’m not a day-to-day operator.”

That was a big gesture by someone who knows himself well.

All we entrepreneurs should know ourselves so well.

Instead, we think of ourselves as capable of tackling any challenge. After all, we got our companies off the ground, sometimes beating unbelievable odds, didn’t we? So we are more likely to stick with it, thinking: what are a few operational challenges, when compared with building up something from literally nothing? It can’t be that hard, we think.

Ah, but it is. It takes one skill set to start a business and a different one to run a business. Some people can do both. Most of us are going to be better at doing one than the other.

Over at, Mary Crane writes about the topic of when the founding entrepreneur should step aside — or at least get out of the way of the people you bring in under you.


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

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