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Episode 07 – The Founder’s Exit with Andy Cunningham

Episode 07 – The Founder’s Exit with Andy Cunningham

How do you think Steve Jobs felt when he was kicked out of his own company? Steve has been conceived as eccentric given his extraordinary talents and gifts, but certainly the world witnessed his devastation when he had to go through such an exit. There are different reasons for a company to decide on going for an exit and it can include taking a company public, an acquisition, a founder’s own decision, or like in Steve Job’s case, a decision made by others. As such, it can either be a victorious stage in a company’s life cycle or a devastating experience that will need a founder’s resiliency. Either way, creating a communication strategy to help you get through the process smoothly is very important. In this episode, learn what typically happens in an exit and how you can communicate effectively with your constituents, audiences, investors, employees, and the like. Andy Cunningham is the Founder and President of Cunningham Collective, a firm built from Andy’s decades of experience in marketing and brand & communication strategy. It was in 1983 when Andy came to Silicon Valley and worked for a PR agency called Regis McKenna. Andy also helped Steve Jobs when the Macintosh personal computer was first launched and since then, she has been instrumental in the launching of several new products and technology categories. Andy is a marketer and an entrepreneur at heart specializing in branding, positioning, marketing, and communicating the next big products and brands to watch out for. She hosts Marketing Over Ice, a popular podcast and has written a book on positioning called, “Get to Aha!: Discover Your Positioning DNA and Dominate Your Competition.” In this Episode:
  • How Andy worked closely with Steve Jobs from the Macintosh launching, Steve’s exit from Apple, to building his NeXT company
  • Various reasons for a company opting to go for an exit
  • How Steve Jobs got kicked out of Apple after the Macintosh didn’t sell well
  • How to set up a communication strategy in the midst of an exit
  • How founders should asses their most valuable skills and the areas which they will need to entrust to somebody else
  • How an exit can be very emotional for a founder that guidance is required instead of an advice
  • How a founder should get his ducks in a row before communicating about the exit
  • How bringing in a marketing communication person can help provide the founder with an unbiased, more objective perspective on the exit
  • Recognizing the value of giving your job to someone who can do it better at the point of exit
  • How doing your communications about your exit early rather than late can give way to a smoother transition
  • How making the decision to exit the company yours to make rather than have other people kick you out

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