Meet Firas Raouf. Chief Something or Other of Xink.
Seriously. That's his title.
And we love it.
The tech executive of the Boston-based email signature management and campaign tool took the title basically to prove this point: He doesn't need one.
Nor does anyone in his company. They need to get stuff done and sell product -- and not worry about who's named what.
"We want to be innovative," Raouf said of the 12-employee company, whose roots date back to 2007. "We want to break away from the norm of the past. We are a virtual company with employees spread over multiple cities and countries. We all wear multiple hats, and we all collaborate to get what needs to get done, done. We wanted our titles to be non-titles. There is no hierarchy."
Who's in Charge?
Too many people are hung up on who's ultimately the person in charge. Who's the CEO? Who's the COO?
"But at this stage of our venture, it just doesn’t matter," Raouf said. "Any one of us represents the company and is accountable to our success. So I came up with that title to send the message … that this is a title that doesn’t matter."
The proliferation of titles is exhausting, as colleague Erika Morphy captured this month. Chief This. Chief That. Too many titles. Not enough substance.
Raouf is right there on that thinking, especially for young, growing companies. Titles are even less important for startups.
"Those young companies are trying to be innovative and dynamic," he told CMSWire. "They're hiring recent graduates, and young people, and it's all about getting work done and not about hierarchy and titles. It's about being collaborative, and team hierarchy becomes less important. It's about making sure everyone gets their work done."
Larger Companies - Go For It
Now, of course, Raouf isn't suggesting the world go without titles. Larger enterprises certainly have a place for them.
"Larger companies have titles so people know their role and there is a more of a hierarchical career path," Raouf said. "And sometimes motivating employees or compensating is through titles."
When tech startups get into a title frenzy, things get muddled, Raouf said. You have a set of founders, and each feels the need for a title.
"The worst one is chief revenue officer," he said. "I don't even know what that means."
Sorry, We Already Have One
What if you need to hire a senior executive with more experience than one of those founders? The title may already be taken.
"You'll have a hard time attracting a senior marketing person when one of the founders decided to take the CMO title," Raouf said. "It causes issues down the line."
As for Xink, at the moment there is no need for titles. The company has sold its platform on-premise since 2007 and last year just released its cloud-based platform.
"We're still a young company," he said. "There really is no reason to have a formal title. So I invented one."
Title image by City of Boston (Flickr) via a CC BY- 2.0 license.