Bob Pritchett is a lifetime entrepreneur and CEO, having founded Logos Research Systems (later Logos Bible Software and now Faithlife) in 1992, and acting as its CEO for 30 years until recently assuming the role of Executive Chairman.
During Bob’s tenure, Faithlife has grown both organically and inorganically from 2 employees to over 500, with the company now serving thousands of customers across 170 countries worldwide.
Bob is also an accomplished author, publishing his best selling book “Fire Someone Today (and Other Surprising Tactics for Making Your Business a Success)” in 2006 to wide acclaim (it also happens to be one of my favorite all-time business books). In 2015, Bob published his second book, “Start Next Now“, to help entrepreneurs and CEOs from all walks of life build the lives that they want for themselves.
Bob was a recipient of E&Y’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2005, and lives with his wife Audra in Bellingham, Washington.
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Bob Pritchett: Author of "Fire Someone Today" and Founder & Executive Chairman of Faithlife Software – In The Trenches
Specific Questions and When They’re Asked
- (4:25) How and why did you start a software company to serve the church & ministry niche?
- (5:40) How do you weigh the benefits of getting into business with a partner against the risks of doing so?
- (7:35) How does an entrepreneur know if she’s better suited to operate with a partner versus doing so on her own?
- (8:35) You advocate that business partners should “plan for the end of the partnership at the beginning of it”. What did you mean by this, and why do you think it’s so important?
- (10:55) What are some best practices that all sets of current partners should be sure to regularly practice in an effort to avoid bad outcomes at the partnership level?
- (12:15) How do you think about the possible risks and rewards of formalizing a business partnership with a friend or a family member?
- (15:50) You take a very particular approach to cash management in your business: Can you expand on the particular system that you use, and the benefits that it has created for you?
- (18:50) How do you think about the potential risk of having so much cash on your balance sheet that you are being unnecessarily conservative in your capital allocation strategy?
- (22:35) What have you learned about how to best manage and allocate your time as a CEO? How do you ensure that you’re working on the right things?
- (27:15) How do know how much you should be listening to your customers? How much weight should CEOs be ascribing to their various customer requests?
- (31:55) What have you learned about how to properly align & incent the employees within your company? What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made in this regard?
- (37:15) In what ways have you had to say “no” to your customers (and/or other stakeholders of the company) as your business has scaled? What have these experiences taught you?
- (42:00) What have you learned about the trade-offs between outsourcing or in-housing certain company functions? How should CEOs think about this question?
- (47:55) In your book, you took a somewhat skeptical approach to growing via M&A. However you’ve made several acquisitions since then. How has your stance on growth via M&A evolved?
- (51:17) How do you approach vulnerability as a leader? Do you “let employees in”, or do you shelter them from your worries and anxieties to prevent unnecessary levels of worry?
- (58:45) What have you learned about “managing yourself” and your own emotions? What practices or habits have you developed to ensure that you’re working in a healthy and sustainable way?
- (1:01:40) How have these personal routines evolved compared to when you were still in start-up mode, and still personally responsible for much of the company’s operations?
- (1:05:45) This year, you hired a new CEO and you now occupy an executive chairman role. This can be a very scary decision for many entrepreneurs. How did you think about making the transition, why did you make it, and what scares you most about it?
- (1:08:35) If you could create a “Mount Rushmore” of the 3-5 books that every entrepreneur or CEO must read, which books would you include?
- (1:12:25) If you could scream one thing from the proverbial mountaintops, and every SMB CEO in the world would hear and fully digest what you say, what would you say and why?
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Links to All Resources Discussed
- Fire Someone Today by Bob Pritchett
- Peak Performance by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness
- My Life and Work by Henry Ford
- The Box, How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger by Marc Levinson
- Alchemy, the Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic and Brands, Business, and Life by Rory Sutherland