A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from August 08, 2012
Founder’s Syndrome

“Founder’s syndrome” is not a medical condition, but describes a problem that many new companies experience. A founder might be able to handle most of the responsibilities of a small company, but that founder might be incapable of delegating responsibility in a rapidly growing company. The founder’s management deficiencies can be the “syndrome” affecting the company’s health.
The term “founder’s syndrome” has been cited in print since at least 1983. Similar names include “founder’s trap” (cited in print since at least 1981) and “founder’s disease” (cited in print since at least 1991).
Google News Archive
18 July 1983, The Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA), “Some strong family businesses destroy themselves” by LeRoy Pope (UPI), pg. 9, cols. 1-3:
The family relationships that make many a small business succeed ultimately may also destroy it, says management consultant David T. Barry of Wellesley, Mass.
One of the most difficult, Barry says, can be “founder’s syndrome,” the belief of the founder that he alone can run the business, and his development of a determination to control at all costs.
This is likely to prevent recruitment of good continuing managers and eventually may force sale of the business, often not at a good time or price.
Google Books
November 1986, Mother Jones magazine, pg. 37, col. 1:
Brower’s critics call it “founder’s syndrome”: an inability to let go of the organization he had created.
16-22 January 1991, Santa Fe (NM) Reporter, pg. 16, col. 3:
Some spoke of a “founder’s syndrome” that afflicts institutions that grow beyond a size manageable by one strong personality.
OCLC WorldCat record
Founders Syndrome: The New Theatre’s Dilemma
Author: A C Gaupp
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: THEATRE DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY, 33, no. 2, (1997): 48-55
Database: British Library Serials
OCLC WorldCat record
Founder’s Syndrome: How Founders and Their Organizations Recover
Author: C McNamara
Publisher: [Madison, Wis. : Society for Nonprofit Organizations, 1986-
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: Nonprofit world. 16, no. 6, (1998): 38
Database: ArticleFirst
OCLC WorldCat record
Toward an Understanding of Founder’s Syndrome: An Assessment of Power and Privilege Among Founders of Nonprofit Organizations
Author: Stephen R Block; Steven Rosenberg
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: Nonprofit Management and Leadership, v12 n4 (20020617): 353-368
Database: CrossRef
OCLC WorldCat record
Why nonprofits fail : overcoming founder’s syndrome, fundphobia, and other obstacles to success
Author: Stephen R Block
Publisher: San Francisco : Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Imprint, 2003.
Edition/Format:  Book : English
Summary: Explains that many well-intentioned leaders hold on to views of their nonprofit organizations that perpetuate problems rather than help fix them. This book offers non-profits advice about common stumbling blocks, including: founder’s syndrome; fundphobia; financial misfortune; and, recruitment disorientation.
Google News Archive
Founder A Threat To Dance Theatre
Sunday, September 19, 2004
Call it Founder’s Syndrome. Someone with a good heart, great intentions and wonderful talent starts an organization that takes off to much acclaim - then the founder doesn’t know when to leave the stage.
The Dance Theatre of Harlem seems to have a fatal case.
OCLC WorldCat record
Founders’ syndrome in women’s nonprofit organizations: Implications for practice and organizational life
Author: Leona English; Nancy Peters
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: Nonprofit Management and Leadership, v22 n2 (20111206): 159-171
Database: CrossRef

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Wednesday, August 08, 2012 • Permalink

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