Two approaches to titles and promotions

From Titles and Promotions by Ben Horowitz:

Should your company make Vice President the top title or should you have Chief Marketing Officers, Chief Revenue Officers, Chief People Officer’s, and Chief Snack Officers? There are two schools of thought regarding this.

Marc Andreessen argues that people ask for many things from a company: salary, bonus, stock options, span of control, and titles. Of those, title is by far the cheapest, so it makes sense to give the highest titles possible… If it makes people feel better, let them feel better. Titles cost nothing. Better yet, when competing for new employees with other companies, using Andreessen’s method you can always outbid the competition in at least one dimension.

At Facebook, by contrast, Mark Zuckerberg… avoids accidentally giving new employees higher titles and positions than better performing existing employees. This boosts morale and increases fairness. Secondly, it forces all the managers of Facebook to deeply understand and internalize Facebook’s leveling system which serves the company extremely well in their own promotion and compensation processes. He also wants titles to be meaningful and reflect who has influence in the organization. As a company grows quickly, it’s important to provide organizational clarity wherever possible and that gets more difficult if there are 50 VPs and 10 Chiefs.