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May 2, 2018

Roland Siebelink is a serial entrepreneur, a certified Scaling Up coach, and the author of Scaling Silicon Valley Style. Roland grew up in the Netherlands, but he has started businesses in Belgium, Switzerland, and now in California. Currently, he helps founders and startups in Silicon Valley scale their businesses and avoid tricky pitfalls with their investors.


Running a startup is very, very different compared to running a traditional business. This is one of the reasons why Roland decided to write his book. He wanted to offer a roadmap specifically to startup founders who needed to understand what stage they’re at, what that means for their funding, and how to effectively scale up without destroying it all.


As a startup, your style is forced to evolve as your company gets bigger. Leading a team of 10 is much different than leading a team of 100, and not every startup founder can properly make that shift. The stuff that made you successful in the startup phase is actually completely detrimental to you in the scale-up phase.


Learning how to pivot is a key skill towards making your startup business successful and finding your right target clients. However, once you’ve reached the limits of the startup phrase, pivoting can no longer be the solution to your problems. In fact, pivoting further can damage the company’s integrity and cause internal confusion.


People in Silicon Valley aren’t focusing on change of leadership tactics when they get to a certain phase of their company. Instead, their solution is to just change CEOs and find a more ‘charismatic’ leader for the company.


Unfortunately, this means that the 2nd CEO might not be the best culture fit and it forces an unnecessary disruption in the company when it could have been prevented. Sometimes, providing the first CEO with more awareness/leadership training could have been the solution the founders were looking for all along.


Interview Links:

Roland on LinkedIn



Scaling Up for Business Growth Workshops: Take the first step to mastering the Rockefeller Habits by attending one of our workshops.

Scaling Up Website

Gazelles Website

Bill on YouTube




It’s not just [that] your style has to evolve, your style almost has to diametrically change.”


The stuff you learned that made you successful is completely detrimental to you in the scale-up phase.”


In the startup phase, founders learn to pivot and pivot and pivot until they become successful.”


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Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It...And Why the Rest Dont, is the best-selling book by Verne Harnish and the team at Gazelles, on how the fastest growing companies succeed, where so many others fail. My name is Bill Gallagher, host of the Scaling Up Business Podcast and a leading business coach with Gazelles.


We help leadership teams to get the 4 Decisions around People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash right so that they can Scale Up successfully and beat the odds of business growth success. Our 4 Decisions are all part of the Rockefeller Habits 2.0 (from the original best-selling business book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits).