Hi guys! I'm curious how people go about testing chemistry with potential cofounders, particularly if they're strangers. Any advice?
Getting in the trenches is really the only way to find out - usually in a concentrated dose
Do the work, together!
If you're the founder, one of the best ways to test chemistry is by being inclusive. Help them feel at ease by sharing the real problems you're facing and work with them to make them part of the team before you sign anything. They'll also know you aren't soft balling them - you're serious about your expectations and you get to instill your company's culture from day one.
This also allows you to evaluate their real skill set and how they will work with other members of your team. If you can, budgeting aside an entire weekend to collaborate is definitely time well spent.
The best thing and way to go is to build trust between parties n envision on possible plans that can work out for you both.
Have long discussions. Read books and discuss them. Work on things together outside of the business. Engage in competitive and cooperative activities.
First, come positive to it. Start working together, even on the ideation and brainstorming level. Share thoughts, visions and your motivations for your potential venture. Listen a lot. Typically this process will accelerate your "chemistry level assessment". I would also suggest having meetings with 3rd party people, you will learn a lot by watching how your co founder acts and talks with them, and how you are in sync or not for that matter. Good luck!
Get to know them however you can. Shared hobbies, food, cocktails. If you do not like them as a person, someone you will spend an insane amount of time with, then you will not like them as cofounders.
Be positive and open about the whole approach. Give it some time. Long conversation is one of the best ways to know a person as to how much s/he likes you. Observation is the key and don't judge :)