I believe strongly in partnerships.
I believe in having a partner who is as great in his area as you are also great in your area.
When both of you combine, you're going to win, and win really big.
For a while, I've been thinking of a co-founder who is sound technically.
I'm a great marketer, I run the fastest growing marketing company, you also need a founder who is sound, like a full stack guy.
When you have a combo like this, you'll win big.
Where did you get your cofounder, and how easy was it getting the person?
To be honest, I have found great luck in two forms which both come from the same general concept, Networking! Most business owners will tell you not to go into business with friends, but all of my successful companies have been built by partnerships with friends.. this is not your "drinking buddies" but your friends who you share common interests and drive. The thing is, when you network (and do it well) you will eventually become friends with others with like minds and interests.
I never set out looking to find someone, typically it is just keeping up with people who inspire me and I can share ideas with. If we share the same vision about something we discuss, then we look deeper to see if this is something viable. Are we each the correct persons to fill the needs of the company while in startup phase? Do we have the time? Do we have the connections? Do we have the startup capital?
The average length of a marriage today is 8 years, the average business partnership is roughly 12 years. This just goes to show that picking the right person is no simple task and nothing you should jump into without first thinking through all the details (and PLEASE make sure you have a partnership agreement from the start to specify what happens if things go south).
Use all available networking solutions.. Talk with people in the Y-combinator community, go to TechStars events, go to 1MillionCups events, find other entrepreneurial groups on Meetup.. simply using this site is a good first step, but cast a wide net and make meaningful connections with people. You may find an unlikely person is the best choice.
No, actually what is essential in a co-founder is that they share an identical vision for your product/company. Vision is the ideal experience of your product/company for your customers, both external and internal. Whether they have complimentary skills is a completely different consideration. Without the shared identical vision you will have friction that either slows down or breaks your business. Hiring skills is a completely separate effort that finding a co-founder. You may get lucky and find a co-founder that has some essential skills you do not possess, but it's not what makes them successful, it's what makes you lucky.
Every business requires 6 fundamental skills to be present. No one person ever masters more than 2, so you will always have support from employees, co-owners, advisors, contractors, etc. to fill those gaps. It will not be just two people, ever. Those skills, in order of importance are: marketing, sales, organization, efficiency, people, and leadership. They are not the only skills, but they are the essential ones. Notice that technology is not in that list.
Tech is a commodity. You do not need your co-founder to be a tech wizard. You need a co-founder to share your vision and to help you validate your marketing strategy so you have knowledge of exactly how to develop your business, or if you even have a business. Again, if you're lucky, you will find someone who also has complimentary skill areas they've mastered, but that's not what makes your business successful. Those technical skill requirements can be filled by any employee.