It became clear very quickly that the two founders who brought me in wouldn't embrace any change that didn't come from them, and they had a total fear of empowering anyone else to make executive decisions - even about their own team members; I constantly found my guys being assigned to firefighting for other teams without my knowledge, so workload planning and scheduling knowledge sharing periods was impossible - we had information silos all over the place and if someone went on vacation they would often be called or emailed frequently because they were the only ones who knew about a specific part of a project or system. I wasn't allowed to attend support review meetings with the customers - the Directors went alone and told me what had been agreed, and they constantly dealt directly with one of my guys (the company 'guru'), assigning him work and making it impossible for me to grab his time so he could share his skills with the rest of the team - I highlighted it as a serious business risk that this guy was the only person who knew some of the tricks with some of our internal and customer infrastructures, and that he wasn't encouraged to document or share his knowledge, but they dismissed my concerns.
When we had that Friday afternoon talk after 9 months of trying to bring in some best practices and semblance of organisation, I left the office for the last time with a sense of great relief that I was out of the clusterfuck.
It only took me a few weeks to find a much better role and I hope things work out for you too.
Edit: Looking back at what I wrote, it might be that the OPs circumstances just offered the opportunity for a bit of a personal rant, which was not the intention. My main point was based on the fact (not explained at all by me in my post) that when I met the two Directors (twice), prior to joining, the setup and opportunity for me looked very positive, and I was convinced I was going to be empowered to fulfil the role. Things turned out very differently, and I clearly did not fit in with the company culture the founders wanted to both leave and stick with simultaneously (it was their comfort zone, and although they knew is was not the best was to run a business, they ultimately couldn't leave it). Moral: Shit happens, despite due dilligence, but that doesn't make it right.
You can definitely see it in government, non-profits as well as existing businesses. It's the end result of a culture that values "getting shit done" and ends up with nothing but "shit".
* Paying a contact manufacturer to design and build electronic hardware, then not getting any sources for the software.
* Selling R&D prototypes.
* Mistaking being customer-driven for waiting for customer orders before developing a product.
* Promising customers 3 month lead times on products that exist only as R&D prototypes.
* Not documenting what was built until product is shipping.
* Not documenting design decisions.
These are all real things that happened at a 20 year old company that I used to work for. This is also a short list of the many reasons I left.
After seeing this and similar situations like https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8152933 involving YC companies, it's hard not to conclude that there may be something culturally broken at the accelerator level.
But to be fair, I don't think any other accelerator focuses on this part. Most, if not all, accelerator only focus on growth and momentum, because that is what ultimately that is what gives the best ROI.
But in most cases, problems like in this particular case become obstacles for growth. I think YC should add provision of experience to the YC formula. What is the point of having so many experienced investors and founders in the accelerator if their companies are so bad at doing real business not only growth.
This is obviously all speculation, since I am not part of the program. Just commenting on the fact there are so many cases like this one in YC companies. So take my comments with a grain of salt.
My biggest concern about Steve Jobs's legacy is that people can all too easily draw the wrong lessons from it, or use it to justify bad managerial practices. Steve Jobs's managerial style was as much of a hindrance as it was a benefit.
Obviously I'm not saying you're one of those "Steve Jobs was an asshole, so I can be" types of people, or that you're condoning them as such. But a lot of people do think that way, and a lot of people condone thinking that way. On the whole, it's an influential and problematic narrative.
I think the trick is to grow past the 'whatever it takes' phase and get to the long term, steady, maturation phase. Which is what we are trying to do.