Coworking Spaces: Working Alone, Together

In the past decade, coworking spaces have emerged as a new and promising phenomenon. Due to its prevalence, popularity, and potential for disruptive change, coworking is increasingly relevant to the workplace, yet its implications are largely unstudied given the rapid rise of the phenomenon. Overall, more data and analysis is needed to inform owners, policy makers, and remote workers regarding the effects of coworking. My research addresses this gap. Specifically, I explore whether coworking “works’, or in other words, whether (and how) it adds value for its members. You can read more about this at the link below:

MIT Sloan article:

Published academic article:

Going alone or together? Solo founding vs. co-founding

The choice of whether to remain solo or find co-founders is one of the most important and fundamental decisions each entrepreneur must make. Past research finds that larger founding teams outperform smaller teams on average; however, it also suggests that conflict and drama among co-founders is one of the primary sources of failure. Using in-depth qualitative data collected over many years, we examine the conditions under which it might make sense to solo found rather than find co-founders. Our findings reveal how solo-founders strategically use co-creators rather than co-founders to overcome challenges, retain control, and mobilize resources in unique and unexpected ways.

Harvard Business Review article:

Published academic article:

Do founders tune out their teams?

As firms mature, their founders are often replaced with seasoned executives. When founders stick around, their surrounding team members are often viewed as necessary to help compensate for the founder’s managerial weaknesses. But do founders actually listen to the advice of the seasoned executives who surround them? Or do they shrug it off and march to the beat of their own drum? To better understand this, we collected and analyzed data on more than 2,000 companies. This examination uncovered surprising insights relevant for leaders of large and small organizations, which you can read more about at the sources below:

MIT Sloan article:

Published academic article:

Boomerang CEOs: What happens when the CEO comes back?

CEO successions represent critical junctures for firms. What remains unexplored, however, is what happens when the firm rehires a former CEO (e.g., a “boomerang CEO”). To better understand the consequences of bringing back a former CEO, we collected and analyzed data on the performance of 167 boomerang CEOs of companies listed on the S&P Composite 1500 index from 1992 to 2017. We then compared their tenures with those of more than 6,000 other (non-boomerang) CEOs over the same period. This comparative investigation revealed some nonobvious insights and critical implications for leaders of large and small organizations, which you can read about at the sources below:

MIT Sloan article:

Academic article:

How long should a founder remain CEO?

Do founder-CEOs have an expiration date? With several high-profile founders recently stepping down from their companies, some have begun asking whether the move could herald a new era, in which founders voluntarily step aside rather than sticking around for decades or waiting to be ousted. To explore the value added by a founder-CEO, we analyzed stock price and financial performance data from more than 2,000 publicly traded companies. We found that on average, founder-led firms outperform those with non-founder-CEOs — but that the difference dwindles to zero just three years post-IPO, after which founder-CEOs actually start detracting from firm value. Given these findings, we offer three strategies to help investors, boards, and executive teams support founders in transitioning out of the CEO role when the time is right.

Harvard Business Review article:

How can startups attract top talent?

Hiring is one of the most important and yet also one of the most difficult responsibilities in a startup. When an organization is small and only has a few employees, even one bad hire can impede the startup's growth or even lead to its demise. Yet, because startups have limited cash flow, they typically cannot offer the salaries or job security offered by larger corporations with whom they compete for talent. The question then is how startups can attract talented employees without offering competitive financial packages. The questions I address in this study are: Which incentives are most effective in attracting employees to startups, and how do these preferences differ across employee types?

Unicorn scandals: How to prevent them

In recent years, several "unicorn" companies (i.e., startups valued at $1 billion or more) have been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Lofty valuations, lightning-speed growth, and impossible expectations have led many of these firms and their founders to become roiled in scandals and ethical misconduct (think: Theranos, Uber, WeWork, etc.). In this study, we examine which types of unicorns are most likely to experience scandals, and offer insights into how future unicorn misconduct can be prevented.

Do founders need a second-in-command?

To compensate for their managerial limitations, founders are often encouraged to hire a “second-in-command” (with the most famous example being the Zuckerberg/Sandberg partnership). Surprisingly, however, little is known about the prevalence of a second-in-command in founder-led firms, or its influence on firm performance (if any). Using novel methods and a sample of over 2,000 IPO firms, we address these questions. We find that founders are more likely to have a second-in-command relative to other CEOs, and also benefit more when a second-in-command is present.

Can marriage and family therapy principles be applied to business partners?

Cofounders are important. They help write code, craft strategy, chase leads, pitch investors, share emotional drain, and complement deficiencies. However relationships in a founding team are very different from other work teams. In fact, many entrepreneurs use the analogy of a marriage in describing their cofounding relationship, as they worry about how to properly raise their ‘baby’ (startup), plan for the future, fight over finances, and try to keep each other motivated when times get tough. To better understand how co-founders can work well together, I look to literature in the field of Marriage and Family to inform this study. I find that many principles from Marriage and Family Therapy can be applied to the working relationships between business partners.