2 min read

The Founder Brand: Reflection, Perspective, and Consideration

These are all things that I’m carefully considering right now as a co-founder and roughly 3-year practitioner of this stuff. Hopefully, this gives others who are also feeling this tug of war the permission to reevaluate how and why they’re investing their time.

2-minute read

The idea—and allure—of a “founder brand” is very sellable.

The benefits can be real:

  • Recruiting can be easier.
  • Marketing and Sales can be enabled: prospective buyers can be more bought in and (hopefully) close faster.
  • Market feedback can be easier to obtain.
  • One-to-many marketing opportunities can become available.
  • More leads?

Just to name a few.

The costs are also very real:

  • The mental health of the founder can suffer.
  • Loss of focus on the right things.
  • Unhealthy attachment to social: even if it takes less than 15 minutes to post something on social, the mental-emotional investment can be well into the hours.
  • False impact: thinking that personal popularity automatically means that it's good for the business. It doesn’t.
  • Unhealthy dependency on the founder to drive results.
  • Inflated ego: the lack of perspective that can come from strangers thinking you’re smart is the greatest cost of all.

Just to name a few.

These liabilities are why most (as in almost all) of the people designing, building, marketing, and selling the products that we know and love—and the ones that will create and change categories to come—currently don’t (and never will) have a social media presence.

They don’t have time for the distraction. The cost of distraction to their mission and business is too high.

(And yes, FTR, it is a distraction—regardless of positive or negative outcomes. It’s a distraction from doing something else. Every action has a corresponding inaction.)

Upon reflection, these are the opinions I’ve developed:

  1. A founder brand is a nice-to-have that’s not necessary for business success.
  2. Product is the driver: A great (useful) product is infinitely more important for driving recruiting and revenue outcomes at scale than any personal brand(s).

Doing great work is the most important thing. Accomplish that and a lot takes care of itself.

If the concept of a founder brand is something that you believe in and aspire to, go in eyes wide open to the liabilities. They can be significant.

Dependencies will dictate behavior. That’s a precarious place for you and your business to be in.

(I play a small role in promoting this founder brand idea. I’m well aware. This is why my perspective should carry some credibility.)


These are all things that I’m carefully considering right now as a co-founder and roughly 3-year practitioner of this stuff.

Hopefully, this gives others who are also feeling this tug of war the permission to reevaluate how and why they’re investing their time.


FTR, this is not for or against the founder brand model. It’s offering a perspective and the opportunity to think about the impacts this choice has on an individual and their business.

Take it or leave it.

P.S. In virtually every founder brand example that I could think of, the product enabled the brand. Not the other way around.

Like, comment, and share on LinkedIn. (How ironic.)