When looking for a cofounder, there are some aspects of a fellow founder that require compatibility, and others that need differentiation.
What should founders look for in fellow founder in regards to compatibility and differentiation?
Thanks for the guidance!
For me, my partners were the clear differentiating factor between my two successful ventures and my two failed ones.
When you start a new venture, you are going through a honeymoon period: Everyone is hyped, positive, and disagreements are at minimum. Then reality hits. You work 20 hours days, you take no holidays, you do not know if you can pay your bills and if you the business will survive another payment period. This is the time pressure and disagreement arise. This is the point that compatibility or incompatibility of partners make or break the business.
So for me the three requirements from a partner are:
1.Someone who is not going to break and that I know I can rely on at times of pressure
2. Someone who often disagrees with me and challenges my thinking
3. and at the same time, she knows how to work through disagreement and use them to create productive outcomes
I find that skills are secondary. After all, you can always hire people with the right skills. It's much harder to hire a person to depend on
I think compatibility needs to be based on certain values and passion for a particular venture. It's like a human relationship, if one person is way too into the other person but it's not reciprocated, things usually don't work out. I think the same is generally true of each founders' interest in the business.
I think you have to feel your co-founders are all good, respectable human beings, like you would hang out with that person after hours because you enjoy or respect them on certain levels...
In terms of differences, I think it's good to have the most varied mixture here. A few good types to have may include:
Of course there's more, but just a few general ones off the top of the noggin.
Compatibility: goals and strategy
1. Values & ethics should be aligned.
2. Explore deep about life-purpose, beliefs on success, money, managing, etc.
3. Look if prefers to be short-term or long term.
4. Check on manpower management philosophies.
If one is 'left brain', it may be better if other is 'right brain' (don't subscribe to this division though)
The ideal co-founder for me is someone who is the exact opposite in terms of skill set and personality, except in one field: product vision. If you're not on the same page about where the product should go and who it's for, you'll spend 90% of your time arguing about it.
One more comment:
Got to catch up with Stanford Prof & his students, a panel of entrepreneurs...
Power of a co-founder: Interesting discussion.It appeared to have a co-founder or go solo was not even a point of discussion. Sensed complete unanimity among the panelists about the option.Why?
1.Entrepreneurship may appear very glamorous from outside. As an entrepreneur, you go crazy. It may help to have someone as a co-founder to share the load.
2.It may be a good idea to have three co-founders, with each one focusing on bill, sell, collect.
3.Co-founder should be naturally passionate about the idea. You should not be selling the idea to a prospective co-founder, instead to the market.
4.Some are lucky to get classmates, batchmates as partners
5.Wavelength first, not the idea.
6.Got to be honest & fair. I may add ethical, aligned on values.