Snowflake CEO Labels His Position as ‘Remarkably Challenging Yet Rewarding’

**Boosting Intensity and Embracing Confrontation: Advice from Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman**

Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman has achieved remarkable success in his career, leading multiple companies to blockbuster IPOs. With his experience as a CEO, Slootman offers valuable advice to young company leaders. One crucial aspect, he emphasizes, is the need to boost intensity and embrace confrontation to drive success.

**Relentlessly Driving Every Second**

According to Slootman, many young CEOs have the misconception that hiring a team of talented individuals is enough to achieve greatness. However, he believes that relentless drive and commitment are indispensable qualities for success. In a recent episode of the No Priors podcast, Slootman stressed the importance of driving tempo, pace, intensity, and urgency in every aspect of a company’s operations.

Slootman draws an analogy to a DMV office, where workers often lack urgency. He explains that human beings naturally tend to slow down and become complacent unless there are leaders who can drive the necessary intensity and urgency. As a result, it is the responsibility of CEOs to push for urgency and maintain a high level of energy throughout the day.

**Learning from Elon Musk’s Intensity**

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, is known for his intense leadership style. After taking over Twitter and laying off a significant portion of the workforce, Musk demanded that remaining employees commit to an “extremely hard-core” company culture that requires long hours and high intensity. Slootman has been compared to Musk, being dubbed the “Elon Musk of enterprise software.”

**Controversy and Apologies**

Like Elon Musk, Slootman has experienced controversy. In 2021, he faced backlash after stating that Snowflake should prioritize merit over diversity goals when hiring or promoting employees. However, he later apologized for the statements, expressing regret for any hurt or offense caused.

In 2020, Slootman also admitted to having little patience for employee activism and social justice issues, viewing them as distractions. He compared his leadership style to that of General George Patton, expressing a single-minded focus on achieving goals.

**Snowflake’s Success and Expansion**

Despite the controversies surrounding Slootman’s leadership style, Snowflake has seen considerable success. In 2021, the company reported a 54% year-over-year revenue growth and announced plans to hire over 1,000 employees. Snowflake’s shares have also performed well in the market.

**Embracing Confrontation as a CEO**

Slootman acknowledges that being a CEO is inherently confrontational, despite the fact that human beings naturally avoid confrontation. He shares an anecdote about a founder-CEO who avoided firing an employee by delegating the task to the CFO. Slootman emphasizes that CEOs must confront difficult situations head-on, as it is an essential part of the job.

**Losing the Wrong Ones**

When asked about the possibility of losing talent due to his intense leadership style, Slootman asserts that it is a natural and beneficial process. He believes that attracting the right individuals and letting go of those who are not aligned with the company’s values and culture leads to a more productive and successful organization.

**In Conclusion**

Frank Slootman’s advice to young company leaders is invaluable. By boosting intensity, driving urgency, and embracing confrontation, CEOs can create a culture of high performance and excellence. Although his leadership style has attracted controversy, Snowflake’s success speaks for itself. Aspiring CEOs can undoubtedly learn a great deal from Slootman’s experience and expertise in leading companies to achieve remarkable results.

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