Why are so many tech founders leaving?

The difference between “peacetime” and “wartime.”

Some of Silicon Valley’s most high-profile founders have left their companies in 2022, per NYT.

Why are so many tech founders leaving?

While the reasons for each individual vary, a 2011 blog post on the difference between “peacetime CEOs” and “wartime CEOs” by Ben Horowitz may be instructive. Horowitz writes:

“In wartime, a company is fending off an imminent existential threat… including competition, dramatic macro economic change, market change, supply chain change, and so forth.”

Sound familiar?

It should — because this is wartime. Case in point, the stock performance of some companies whose leaders have left:

  • Twitter, down 32% YoY
  • Airbnb, down 25% YoY
  • Peloton, down 89% YoY
  • Pinterest, down 60%+ YoY
  • Instacart, valuation down 40% in 2022

Other companies experiencing executive exits include Medium, Kickstarter, and DocuSign.

But don’t sleep on peacetime CEOs

Horowitz says, “In times of peace, the company can focus on expanding the market and reinforcing the company’s strengths.”

Many of these founders did just that.

New call-to-action
Topics: Silicon Valley

Get the 5-minute news brief keeping 2.5M+ innovators in the loop. Always free. 100% fresh. No bullsh*t.