David Potter’s Management Style
A newly fledged high-tech entrepreneur in a start-up often knows nothing about management and David Potter, founder and CEO of Psion was no esxception.
“Management at Psion was an art to be learned on the fly from friends, rivals and books,” recalls Potter, “I learnt from Hermann Hauser, from Clive Sinclair and from Roger Foster (of Apricot), and I’ve always been an avid reader and networker.”
“There was a management team, and I discussed things with them, but it’s not quite the same thing when you own a large proportion of the company,” continues Potter, “there is always the sense of responsibility. You’ve a lot of employees, a lot of suppliers, you’ve got customers, you got all kinds of responsibilities.”
“I’ve always been the team facilitator,” says Potter, “I’ve never lost any key executives at a high level. The team was always hugely important. I was the strategist, the visionary but I’m not hands-on. I don’t need to call the shots and run everything. Whereas Alan Sugar does, and so does Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch has a hundred ideas a week – the problem for others is to rein him in. His executives don’t last terribly long, he always finds a way of getting rid of his executives, which is quite a healthy thing because you’re avoiding group-think.”
” I could argue in the mid-90s Psion got itself into a habit of group-think, because there was so much loyalty that we were a kind of cabal – we suffered from group-think,” concludes Potter, “it’s important to change the team to avoid that.”