Fabian Pfortmüller on How Co-Founder Role Changes as Company Grows

In Chapter 12 of 15 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, community builder and entrepreneur Fabian Pfortmüller answers "How Are Your Responsibilities Changing as Your Company Grows?"  Pfortmüller notes how his role at Sandbox Network is evolving away from daily operational sales and marketing tasks and more toward higher level strategic responsibilities.  He also notes how he is continuing to find new hats to wear at Holstee as the company grows and brings on staff to handle jobs and tasks he has managed to date.  Pfortmüller is co-founder of the young leader accelerator, Sandbox Network, and HOLSTEE, an apparel and design firm that sells meaningful products to mindful shoppers.  Pfortmüller graduated from Columbia University and its school of General Studies.


Erik Michielsen: How are your responsibilities changing as your businesses grow?

Fabian Pfortmüller: As the company evolves so does my role and at Sandbox for example, I started out being in a very operational marketing kind of sales role and that has moved into more and more focusing on the bigger picture. It has to do on the one hand how the organization is progressing. It’s becoming more mature. We have amazing people who work there who do most of the jobs that I did in the beginning way better than I do them and on the other hand I’ve also started to learn what I do good and what I'm best at and I realized I'm good at understanding community.

I'm good at realizing in which direction we could develop it, I'm good at seeing opportunities, I'm good at connecting opportunities and maybe, you know, strategic goals and so I’ve start to spent more time on that and I would say over time I shifted to go from doing a lot of things that were urgent and needed my immediate attention to more things that are important and hopefully gonna have an impact on the bigger picture but on the other hand at HOLSTEE, you know, it’s the same thing that very, very small team and there I'm in a very operational role, it keeps changing and I also – I would say the three founders have very different skill sets where my role there was to make sure like we’re operational, like set up in a way that we can run very fast and at the beginning I did like, you know, accounting and bookkeeping and what not until we found luckily someone who is way better than I am at these things but I'm quite good at doing something for the first time not in a perfect way but in a way that it doesn’t completely fall apart and that the ship more or less keeps going until we find someone -- we can afford someone who does this much better.