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January 4, 2022

“Why I Fired Myself”

By: Van Horgen
Founder, Executive Chairman
Van Horgen

My Uncle Paul, former bank CEO for over 35 years, paid me a compliment that I’ve been thinking about for some time.

Uncle Paul told me that my gut instincts have gotten Superhuman to where it is today. I made the right decisions at the right time — an ability that shouldn’t be underestimated.

I truly believe when you have good intentions, things will work out for the best. Every decision I’ve made — big or small — has always been made with one thing in mind: How will it benefit Superhuman?

With that in mind, I’ve been doing some self-assessment about my role and abilities moving forward.

When I look back over the past 11 years, I realized I achieved something few people can. I built a successful business from the ground up. No investors. No nest egg. No safety net. I launched Superhuman with just a belief that doing the best work I could for my clients would result in them becoming repeat customers and my clients would then recommend Superhuman to their colleagues.

“My gut tells me it’s time to step aside and promote Becky to CEO of Superhuman.”

Van Horgen, 
Founder

Superhuman has become more than I ever imagined. We are doing work beyond my capabilities and solving more complex business problems than I ever imagined we could. My crazy dream was to have an agency of maybe 10 people. But we shot past 10 and suddenly we were at 18 going on almost 30 people now. It’s hard to turn down work from clients who value your expertise and want to work with you more.

But as Superhuman has grown, I realized that I may not be the best person to lead Superhuman day-to-day. While I think my colleagues and coworkers would say I’m organized and prepared, I’m not a guy who gets deep in the weeds in process — something that a growing organization needs.

I see myself as a founder or starter, but what Superhuman needs most right now is someone who can build and scale. Someone who shares my vision to create a diverse, inclusive agency where clients and employees feel valued. Someone who understands our strengths and matches them to opportunities to drive our agency forward. And most importantly, someone who empathizes and has compassion for people.

That builder or scaler is my close friend and business partner, Becky Lang.

My gut tells me it’s time to step aside and promote Becky to CEO of Superhuman.

It was a no-brainer decision to choose Becky as my successor. Clients, coworkers and colleagues all sing the praises of Becky. She is a creative director with a keen sense for business and brand strategy. Her problem solving earns the trust of our clients.

Promoting Becky as the new CEO of Superhuman is the beginning of my succession plan. Ultimately, my legacy is that Superhuman becomes a century old, generational company.

What I mean by that is I’ll eventually sell my ownership shares to Becky and partners when I’m ready to retire. Becky will then sell her majority stake to her successor and so on. Keep the ownership of Superhuman to employees who prove themselves to be indispensable and let them reap the rewards of their hard work. I would love nothing more than Superhuman to continue to thrive long after I’m dead and become a 100-year-old agency.

What am I going to do now? I’ll become Chairman and continue to focus my energies on new biz along with being the brand ambassador for Superhuman connecting with clients, colleagues and the community. I’d love to get coffee, lunch or drinks with you. Let’s catch up or get to know each other. I’ve got time now. I just fired myself. And I feel great. It’s what’s best for Superhuman.

“I would love nothing more than Superhuman to continue to thrive long after I’m dead and become a 100-year-old agency.”

Van Horgen, 
Founder