It can get very lonely at the top and that's why ExpertCEO was created, to let CEOs know that they aren't alone -- it just feels that way sometimes.
The site recently emerged from private beta with 600 members and is growing at a fast clip of 30 percent per month. Founded in late 2007 by Ken Ross, a former venture capitalist, its goal is to become an important resource for CEOs.
"CEOs want to be able to interact with other CEOs," says Ken Ross. That's why each applicant is carefully vetted.
About 50 percent of applicants are rejected - primarily because they are marketeers in disguise. Keeping the site spam-free is a top priority.
Mr Ross says that ExpertCEO was inspired by the popularity of Facebook and other similar sites but don't call it a social network. You can't become anyone's "friend" and you won't find many other social network features. For example, photos are rare and anonymity is a key feature--designed top protect CEOs from having questions or posts coming back to haunt them.
Members aren't super active but that's to be expected. "CEOs are busy but most will log in once or twice per week and we also have an email newsletter that offers a digest of what's been going on," says Mr Ross.
The only non-CEOs allowed are a panel of experts that includes VCs, accountants, lawyers, and academics to give specialist advice and also to bring in a variety of viewpoints. All experts have to use their real names.
CEOs ask questions such as creative ways of hiring developers, how best to communicate with offshore developers, and the economics of software as a service.
ExpertCEO also conducts surveys of its members. A recent survey asked what keeps them awake at night:
My own job security (4%)
Laying off employees/poor morale (34%)
Missing the sales forecast (43%)
Running out of cash (67%)
Nothing, I sleep like a baby (14%)
Which of these concerns you the most
My own job security (7%)
Laying off employees/poor morale (10%)
Missing the sales forecast (18%)
Running out of cash (56%)
What's next? Mr Ross says that his team might launch similar sites for CFOs and other C-level executives. And also host offline events. "We have a long list of things we'd like to do."
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Please see: Ken Ross' blog The Expert CEO.