Company Culture · Lean startup

Potential co-founder not interested in Lean, things company culture is 'fluff'


July 3rd, 2019


I'm looking for some advice on how to proceed.

I'm in talks with a potential co-founder. This person is very technically capable, has a good ability focus and get things done. However he has no experience with, or desire to learn Lean, and therefore wants to pursue a path of building products, then seeing if people want them. Having been in a startup before where a founder didnt know about Lean, and scoffed at the idea of learning about it, we spent a lot of time and money building something that had very little interest.

This potential co-founder also doesnt believe in the importance of a company culture - and is only interested in building a product. I've tried to explain that my view is great companies come from great company cultures, and that I'm focused on building a great company that will last a long time.

I'm interested to hear from others who have gone into business with someone who has no interest in applying proven business processes and just wants to 'get stuff done'.

Did it work out?

Was it highly taxing?

Sergey Sundukovskiy Head of Engineering - Technology Innovation at Capital One

July 3rd, 2019

This is not a right Co-Founder for you to have. It is not about right or wrong it is about aligned. If you are not aligned now you never will be. I built number of Startups and my constant regret not establishing culture early enough. Culture is central to how you do things. Though to be fair people understand different thing under umbrella of Culture. To me Culture is not values it is actions.

Chris Bradbury Consultant and Entrepreneur

July 3rd, 2019

Trust your instincts on this as it comes from relevant experience

Max Tech, infosec, risk mgmt. Need a GTM partner - assisted contract negotiations and RFP fulfillment.

July 3rd, 2019

A good company is much more than a growing business with a good product. You should also be building a scalable culture and scalable processes. The earlier -- the better. Healthy culture will help you attract and retain talent and good processes will ensure efficiency and help minimize damage during business downturns. Explain that to your co-founder. If he/she will continue to be negative/dismissive -- find a better co-founder. If the person looks hesitating/skeptical, hire them. Good culture is contagious and good processes will have to be followed. It will click for the person eventually and he/she might become your best ambassador.

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

July 4th, 2019

Sergey is correct. You absolutely must have a co-founder whose strategy aligns with yours. You already know the company will fail or at least waste a lot of time and money if you allow the process to meander as this other person wishes. Stop courting them or trying to convince them. Just move on and find a more appropriate match. He will eventually learn his lesson on his own. Not your job to teach him.

STEVEN HARP Founder / Managing Partner

July 3rd, 2019


"The older I get, the more I see a straight path where I want to go. If you're going to hunt elephants, don't get off the trail for a rabbit."

Ashit Vora Software Engineer, Working as a consultant for past 9 years, Interested in solving real problems

Last updated on July 5th, 2019

You have just started your journey, you need to trust him. Everybody thinks that he/she is right and things should be done his/her way.

What I would recommend is, to come up with a plan of what you both would accomplish by when and come to an agreement on responsibilities. Once that is finalized, you are good. Let him handle his department.

It's as simple as - You don't take order from him, and he doesn't take orders from you.

And if you start seeing the deadlines being missed by the other party, talk to him and see what is the bottleneck. And if things do not improve, you know it's time to split ways.