Part I: There’s going to be carnage

Harlan Business Photo
Harlan Blumenthal – CEO, dailyRx

Coming into this role there was little runway to get up to speed with every employee for whom I had responsibility. By conducting face-to-face meetings, it became clear who could help us “move the needle”.

On day three in my role as CEO I fired someone, and there was no hesitation in doing so. This employee had not shown up for work and was not responding to other forms of communication. I had never fired anyone; I’m the nice guy. It is humbling to think of the effect I have on someone’s personal and professional life. “With great power comes great responsibility.” Thanks Uncle Ben!

I believe there are plenty of people in Austin who would jump at the chance to shape the future direction of dailyRx. Working for a start-up can have great financial benefit to everyone involved, and owning a piece of the business should further empower an individual to work toward the goals and objectives of the company.

During my second week on the job I offered an employee a merit increase and equity in the company. Much to my dismay, it was met with impertinence and hostility. I had no choice but to let this employee go.

Did the owners hire me to become the Harvey Keitel of dailyRx? Many of you should understand the Pulp Fiction reference because his character, “The Wolf” exemplified many of the characteristics I had taken on. One of my favorite lines he spoke from the movie was: “…I think fast, I talk fast and I need you guys to act fast if you wanna get out of this…”

I am left with the realization that a CEO is much more than someone who drives revenue. I make decisions every day that affect people’s lives. Sometimes these decisions mean cleaning house and starting over. In the end, I’d like to think I wield a velvet hammer.

As I look ahead it is challenging not to look at the carnage I lay behind, but we must forge on if dailyRx is to become the juggernaut it once was. In part II of my story you will learn what it is like to walk on scorched earth and try to mend relationships that were tossed aside and taken for granted.

You will then hear about the transformation dailyRx is undertaking. How we have realigned our services and solutions to better meet the needs of our clients.

Drop me a line and let me know what’s on your mind.

Until next time.


Harlan Blumenthal | CEO, dailyRx, Inc. | |

Check out my initial post: From Individual Contributor to CEO



22-Feb-2017: From Individual Contributor to CEO

Harlan Business Photo
Harlan Blumenthal, CEO, dailyRx

I admit it! I lost my job at Oracle due to lack of sales. Is it so wrong to admit when you’ve not succeeded? I worked with an incredible group of people in one of the toughest divisions of Oracle, Emerging Growth Accounts. This article isn’t about what could have been, but rather how I found myself moving from an Individual Contributor to a CEO.

As I searched for employment over the holiday season (insert, ‘Good luck, Harlan’) I received a phone call from a friend asking if I could run a start up, based here in Austin Texas, on the verge of closing its doors.

What did I know about being a CEO? Why would my friend consider me a viable candidate for such an opportunity? It dawned on me that what I lacked as a Chief Executive Officer I more than made up as an Individual Contributor.

It didn’t matter that dailyRx remained a start up after nine years. It didn’t matter that I had no experience as a CEO, let alone an entrepreneur. And as I combed through books teaching me what it takes to be a CEO, I realized that no amount of reading would help me when it came time to execute. What I already knew was a CEO’s job is to drive revenue.

With over two decades spent selling Enterprise Software, I have learned a great deal. From the sales methodologies and mentors’ many lessons, taking what I know about selling and applying it would become my focus.

But how do I focus on that when our products and solutions were no longer being marketed, when expenses exceeded revenues, and when our website generated scant traffic and little money in advertising dollars?

Let me pause for a moment and state that Google Analytics may be easy for some to understand but I’d like to have a college student sit down and school me on all the intricacies of SEO, CPM, CTR and the myriad of other acronyms.

In 53 days after taking over as CEO of dailyRx we have made some tough decisions. We’ve had to restructure roles and responsibilities, we’ve had to part ways with others and had to cut expenses considerably. None of this helps drive revenue but is a necessary evil to stop the proverbial bleeding. We have saved over $150,000 in annual SG&A, started working on a web-site rebuild and continue to focus on our clients’ needs above all else.

After spending time putting together our GTM strategy and realigning how our products and services were sold, we found some success.

<<Commercial>> Because our video and written content is marketed to syndicates, universities, hospitals & clinics, as well as all health care professionals or business promoting health and wellness, we understand there is a great need to create real news.

Every piece of content we publish is medically reviewed for accuracy and we never take a stand for or against our topics. We simply report on what our viewers need to know. <<End Commercial>>

Things are slowly turning around and I see some light ahead. I realize I have neither the knowledge nor enough time to focus on being a jack-of-all-trades; it really doesn’t make me a better anything. If I knew how to leverage WordPress, Drupel, Google Analytics and a host of other tools that will help grow the business…I’d have my own consulting firm.

No I wouldn’t. I’m making 90% less than I made last year and I’m having the time of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sure how long I can sustain what I’m doing on virtually no income but I know we can turn things around and, who knows, maybe in three months I’ll be making 80% less.

I hope to write from time to time about what life is like as CEO of a startup. Drop me a line and let me know what’s on your mind.

Until next time.


Harlan Blumenthal | CEO, dailyRx, Inc. | |