Reboot Podcast

The Reboot podcast showcases the heart and soul, the wins and losses, the ups and downs of startup leadership. On the show, Entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and Startup Leaders discuss with Jerry Colonna the emotional and psychological challenges they face daily as leaders.

#2 – What if I don’t want to be CEO? – with Duncan Morris and Jerry Colonna

Episode 2 / OCT 1 2014

Episode Description

What if I don't want to be CEO

 “The human self has a nature, limits as well as potential. If you seek vocation without understanding the material you are working with, what you build with your life will be ungainly and may well put lives in peril, your own and some of those around you. “Faking it” in the service of high values is no virtue and has nothing to do with vocation. It is an ignorant, sometimes arrogant, attempt to override one’s nature, and it will always fail.”

Parker Palmer

About the Episode

Duncan Morris, by any measure, had achieved a great deal success as co-founder and CEO of the international, 60 employee, online marketing agency –  And yet, something always felt off for him.  At our bootcamp in June he was touched and challenged by a question from Jerry: “What if you could truly understand who you are, and lead from that place?”  In evaluating this question, a new question emerged for Duncan: “What if I don’t want to be CEO?” – “What if I don’t want to be a leader of a company with 60+ people?”  In this conversation with Jerry, hear how exploring these questions has ultimately changed his work, his company, and his life.

Another key quote from the episode comes from Adrienne Rich’s poem: “Diving into the Wreck:”

I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.
I stroke the beam of my lamp
slowly along the flank
of something more permanent
than fish or weed

the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth
the drowned face always staring
toward the sun
the evidence of damage
worn by salt and sway into this threadbare beauty
the ribs of the disaster
curving their assertion
among the tentative haunters.

Key Links:

About Duncan:

Founder and Chairman –

Duncan founded Distilled with Will in 2005.

Duncan was CEO of Distilled for just over 5 years before he handed the reins to Will in 2014. Duncan is now Chairman, a non-executive role that, amongst other tasks, chairs the Distilled advisory board.

The remainder of his time is spent working with Tom Anthony bolstering Distilled’s investment in R&D. For Duncan this is a return to his computer science roots. Duncan studied Computer Science at Glasgow, specialising in database design. He then worked for a large insurance company where he specialised in data warehouse architecture.

More about Duncan

Duncan is married to Suzi and they have a son, Edward, and a dog named Brewster. When not chasing around after kids and pets, Duncan plays hockey for Oxted Hockey Club.

Duncan can be found on Twitter, LinkedIn and G+.

Key Questions:

What if I don’t want to be CEO?

What if I don’t want to be a leader of a company?

What if you could truly understand who you are, and lead from that place?

Ask yourself: What if I don’t want to be CEO ? What if I don’t want to be a leader of a company? Try to truly understand who you are and explore these questions – it will surely change your work, your company and your life.