I’m starting a new company and I don’t want to be the Public Face of it.

Ever. I don’t want my photo in the media or online. Should I simply hire a Communications Person or have my Community Manger be the face of the company? Or something else?

  • I’m in the same exact position. I’ve got a SM employee handling all public facing issues. Just make sure that they are on the same message.

    • Thanks for sharing – yes I realize how important that is, and how much coaching another person needs to be able to say things as I say them – and I guess that nobody would have exactly the same level of knowledge or PASSION as the Founder . . .

  • Why is that? Is your face hideous or something? Or, is it a porn company and you don’t want to be associated with it? Not trying to be funny, I just want to know why you don’t want to have your face associated with your company?

    • I value my privacy and my users privacy. The app I built is for connecting users anonymously for work. If someone is doing a job for you remotely, why would you want to know their identity other than a user name to refer to them by? We can still build a user reputation filter over time without their ID.

      I’m reminded of Richard Branson, who had to be YANKED out from behind his desk to be the face of Virgin. If they come for me like that, I’ll lock the door to my office!

      • One possibility is to make yourself the company COO and designate the person you want to be the public face to the position of CEO.

        Good luck with remaining private and good luck with the app hope it all works out well.

      • I have been there. It can be possible as others have mentioned but there will be several places they will push you to be public: press, conferences, websites…

        You may be able to get somewhat far with a “stage name” for public use but that can be confusing for investors, vendors, and any other professional contacts. But I can be managed.

        Good luck.

      • Dude, I’m sympathize but it’s your company, its your baby, its your face.

        Let me give you my example. I’m tech, introverted and extremely shy. I founded this company and found I HAD to go out there and sell. I tried adding a sales/biz-dev co-founder and it didn’t work as I was the one who could explain the vision. Extremely painful journey for me, but I HAD to make it.

        I’ll wish you all the best, luck through the pain you’re gonna face but just go and blow it out of the water.

  • I also am in the same position. In my case it has more to do with the fact that, while I think I’m quite eloquent when I speak (and I very much love doing so, I’m a very passionate guy), I am completely incapable of taking anything seriously enough, and I tend to joke a lot. At the beginning, when I had to pitch my company to an investor or on a demo day, I would always turn it into a lousy stand up session. Every time I speak publicly about my company, or when I am interviewed, it ends up like Josh Lyman’s press conference on The West Wing.

    In the end I trained my co-founder, who hates public speaking, but is a very serious guy. And while he hates doing it, and is always very nervous when he has to deliver a presentation or give an interview to a reporter, he never screws up the way I used to. He respects reporters, he doesn’t try to be nice, or funny, or charming. And we are all happier that way.

  • A founder using an underling as a shield is a suspicious proposition. It’ll only provoke the press to find you and out you on their terms and not yours.

  • It’s one of the requirements of being a CEO of a successful company. Which means you need to either learn the skill or hire someone else to be the CEO. If you choose the former, you can find a good coach or mentor to assist. If you choose the latter, that’s OK too.

    • If he’s building his own company, I would argue it’s up to him to determine what’s the CEOs job description. I mean, a traditional corporate structure is easy to apply because most people are familiar with it, but in truth as founder and CEO is up to him to determine what and how to do it.

      • True enough but doesn’t it make more sense to learn the skills of the job? Sometimes you have to suck it up.

        Or you could play the part of a mysterious recluse CEO which could be fun to keep the media guessing.

  • Not sure I totally understand the hesitancy here. Help us understand what your app does / why people (will) use it, etc.? If it’s partly anonymous, is that why you don’t want to be the public face of the company?

  • I have a friend who has the same need. He’s basically working his “golden handcuffs” off of a public company and is doing this on the side. He’s not working on the startup while he’s on his full time job but he doesn’t want his bosses to find out he’s started another company.

    One way to do this is to find a co-founder who is willing to be the “public face” for you.

  • This reminds me of a really great Danish movie by Lars Trier called “The Boss of it All.”


    Lars von Trier’s black comedy The Boss of It All (Direktøren for Det Hele) concerns an IT company owner who — in need of a figurehead to “hide behind” when confronted with employee problems — invented the personage of a CEO during the startup period for his corporation. The scheme worked for a surprisingly long period, but when the time arrives to sell the business, massive problems arise — for the prospective buyers insist on only negotiating with the CEO, in person. Thus, the owner further extends the ruse, by hiring a down-and-out actor to impersonate the chief officer.

  • I would suggest finding one or two people to come on as founders with a traditional equity apportionment per their respective titles as founders (i.e., CTO/COO/CEO) and remain an employee/stockholder. You could easily own 80% of the company and be chairman etc…. anonymously, as well as another employee. You just will get skipped over as a founder if it all takes off, but you’ll still have equity, which sounds like what you want. As long as you’re ok with being left out when it comes to credit for success, give this idea some thought. You’ll either be happy with the compromise, or your ego will want to “take credit” in which case there is no avoiding potentially being the face of success.

  • Yeah, I think more information is needed from the original poster — reasons, motivation — to give best answers.

    Otherwise, with LinkedIn, other social media, and the general “all info is available online” nature of the world today, I think trying to genuinely hide as CEO is nearly impossible. Even with Steve Jobs out front, Wozniak couldn’t stay totally hidden… and that was 35 years ago.

  • … [Trackback]

    […] Read More Info here on that Topic: startupsanonymous.com/question/im-starting-new-company-dont-want-public-face/ […]

  • … [Trackback]

    […] There you will find 36874 additional Information on that Topic: startupsanonymous.com/question/im-starting-new-company-dont-want-public-face/ […]

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    You may also like