Brett Hurt - Former CEO, Bazaarvoice

Being CEO

Brett Hurt, Founder & Former CEO Bazaarvoice and Founder of Coremetrics

Brett Hurt is the Founder and former Chief Executive Officer and President of Bazaarvoice. He founded the Bazaarvoice in 2005 and left the company as CEO and President in November 2012. Bazaarvoice is a Lead Edge Capital portfolio company. Brett is a seasoned CEO and has been pioneering e-commerce innovations since 1998 and online communities since 1982.  Brett founded Coremetrics in February 1999 after spending 10 years developing Internet-based software. Brett helped grow Coremetrics into the leading marketing analytics solution for e-commerce, and Forrester Research rated Coremetrics #1 in the industry. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of, a product decision platform that provides tools to help shoppers simplify online research and make informed decisions.

Summary notes on Being CEO

  • How does role of CEO evolve at various stages?
    • In the early days (20 people), CEO must be a utility player i.e. both VP of Sales and CEO
    • Once the company hits several million dollars’ worth of revenue, CEO becomes  more of an amplifier for what the team was doing
      • Would address specific needs, closing important deals or helping important customers, press tours etc.
      • CEO is a ‘Servant Leader’ at this stage
    • Once the company hit 10s of millions in revenue (40-50M+ in revenue), Brett hired CEO Coach Kurt Dando
    • Transitioning to a public company
      • Had more coaches, 3 for the roadshow
        • One for what the process was
        • One for Q&A
        • One to rehearse presentation with
      • Strong Exec team function as individual functional CEOs
        • They should have coaches at this point as well
  • Working with CEO Coach: How did you go about finding a CEO Coach?
    • Process occurred when company was 5 years old, 40-50m in sales
    • Would meet one on one, once every 2-3 weeks
    • Would sit in the back of the room during exec meetings
    • Would attend big offsites at quarterly meetings to make observations and then debrief
    • Leveraged CEO Coach to make a management training program
  • Tips to CEOs as they think about scaling effectively
    • Allocate resources to align with strategy – have to do this at every offsite to reassess and evaluate budgets
    • Took time off to reflect and observe (5-6 weeks of vacation every year)
    • Have to upgrade talent over time with people who have more experience at certain scale