Why I brought on a business partner
Ian Lurie Jan 5 2012
As of yesterday, Portent officially has a President and a CEO, and they’re separate people.
Why? Why would I bring in a business partner after all these years? That means I have to share the glory of running my own agency!
Ian takes a brief pause to laugh, but bites it back before the giggles turn hysterical.
It’s not that complicated
Actually, it’s a no-brainer:
I can’t do it alone. Just so you know, I was physically incapable of writing that until I turned 42.
First: For Portent to grow past its current great-but-there’s-more phase, we have to change our ways a bit. I can’t do that on my own. Steve, our new President, will move us in some great new directions culturally and from a marketing standpoint.
Second: I need more time to write, design training and work on the tools that can help us scale. Without those three things, I can’t teach the team, I can’t build our reputation, and I’ll probably lose whatever shreds of sanity still remain under my fingernails. Ironically, though, as we grow I get less time to do those things. With a great President, I can put my attention where it’s best for Portent.
Third: Where I’m a seething, swirling black hole of despair, Steve is a positive guy—an optimist. He brings diplomacy, media smarts and professionalism to balance my sometimes House-ish rants and my marketing nerdiness. We complement each other extremely well.
Finally: This remains my first job in management. I see the next 2-3 years in Portent’s life as key to whether this becomes a company that lives beyond its founder, or a company that works great as a salary earner and then goes away. The latter isn’t a bad thing, and I’d be totally content with it. But the former is the brass ring.
I’ll write more about the thought process that took me here tomorrow.
CEO & Founder
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He’s recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch.
Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle.