My Fair Startup

Is There a Tech Exec Hiding Under That Hoodie?

Somebody needs to do something about this sea of Eliza Doolittles.
 Is There a Tech Exec Hiding Under That Hoodie?

Gotcha! (Photo: In the Capital)

Sure, startup founders can get a company off the ground. But do they clean up well enough to steer them toward the public markets? And if not, where’s Silicon Alley going to get the requisite talent for an eventual string of IPOs? That’s what this this tut-tutting piece from the New York Post wants to know, which bears the loaded title, “NYC tech CEOs: No hoodies need apply.”

And you thought once Facebook was public we’d be done talking about hoodies. 

The Post talked to Cook Associates Executive Search managing director John Barrett, who lamented the shortage of experienced CEOs waiting for an invitation to steer a hot startup toward an IPO. That’s a problem because, as the Post oh so helpfully explains, “navigating the hazards of a public offering requires a patience for schmoozing and paperwork, sometimes exhausting chores for shoe-gazing whiz-kids.”

You might want to change the world, but shareholders have more mundane concerns.

Well, what’s an investor who’s bet a couple million bucks on a “shoe-gazing whiz-kid” to do? There’s always the option of hunting a head from Silicon Valley or from within the Fortune 1000. There’s also the A16z approach of leaving the founder in charge and helping turn the callow, hoodie-clad youth into the presentable face of a public company.

Regardless of which route they choose, Mr. Barnett believes investors need to spend more time getting their Henry Higgins on:

“Investors in NYC will need to start thinking now about allocating more of their time for grooming the next generation of CEOs and other executive leaders. Most of them aren’t used to doing this, at least to the degree that will be required in NYC, so it will take a profound shift in thinking,” he urged.

Which inspires us to wonder: Who talked Zuckerberg into taking a public speaking class?
Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com