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This Is How Blue Apron's CEO Shares Leadership Responsibilities

May 08, 2016 00:00 AM UTC
- Updated April 28, 2020 21:06 PM UTC

Too many cooks in the kitchen isn’t always a bad thing.

Transcript
Matt, you're young. You're a young CEO. You're a new leader. How would you describe your leadership style? Yeah, well I think my leadership style has been evolving a lot over the course of the company, I got to be honest. Because when you're a two-three-person organization, at the very early days of the company your leadership style needs to be different than when you're the CEO of a business with 3,600 people, which is what I am today. And so I think at the very earliest days of the company, I was a really bad micromanager because I did literally everything myself. I was packing boxes myself. Me and my co-founders are doing all the marketing. I did a 100% of our customer service myself from day one. And then over time as you grow, you bring in more experienced people. And now the kind of leader that I'm working towards becoming is one who can really help set strategy, helps that vision, help set the tone for the organization, and attract great people who can really execute on that. There are three co-founders. You are the CEO. I mean one would say there's too many cooks in the kitchen. Actually I would say the opposite. And in the early days, it was extraordinarily helpful. And today it's still extraordinarily helpful for me to have co-founders because we have very different areas of expertise. So my background was on finance, on business, on marketing, on strategy. I have one co-founder whose background is an engineer. And so he manages all of our web systems, our engineering, our development, our IT, our product management. And I have another co-founders background. He was a chef his whole career. And so it was actually a very natural fit. A lot of young founders actually start businesses with people who look exactly like themselves. Like two people will come out of business school. Three who will come out of business school. They're best friends their whole lives. They have the exact same resume. They start a company together. In those cases, I think you often have too many cooks in the kitchen. But you are the boss. You are the top chef so to speak. What's the hardest part about being the boss, being the leader? In the early days of the business, all the things I spent my day to day time on were things like how to optimize our outbound shipping logistics. And now there are people who are in charge of all those things and I'm still involved in them. But a lot of the work becomes making sure your teams are working well together across the company, setting the culture of the company, and setting that high level vision like I said that other people are now executing on those more specific business problems. Do you have a role model of somebody that you admire as a leader? And probably the most important role model my life is my father. He was a business person his whole career. He ran an organization, a big partnership. And it's really, really important to be a good listener in a partnership, and to treat people with respect, and just to have really sound and reliable judgment in those circumstances. And I think seeing that really influenced my style a lot. And I would describe myself as not a dictatorial CEO as somebody who has good judgment, who can help push things in the right direction but really cares about listening and learning. And I think that that's something that I really learned a lot from him.