Recently I started being convinced that what you feel for your start-up is like Love (yes with a Capital L). That is how I feel for iWeekend. It can bring me such amazing moment of happiness that I feel I am on top of the world, but it also brings me deep moment of desperation where I hope I never met him.
If this metaphor is true, than looking for a co-founder is like seeking for a soulmate. It is actually seeking for a soulmate. You are looking for someone who directly touch your soul and understand you on a deeper level than your average friends.
I had an email discussion with Stephen Wang – one of iWeekend mentor who did all his ventures with the same co-founder, a classmate from Berkeley. And they started together at least 4 companies, including the famous movie review website rottentomatoes.com
??and today a marketplace to match Chinese celebrity with brands, alive.cn
I was having some conflict with a partner that was also a friend. And I was wondering if it was wrong to want so bad that my partner was just more than just a business partner. I wanted him to be someone you can rely on outside of business as well. So I asked him if choosing a friend as a co-founder was a good idea or if it should be business decision and and you should choose the most talented person. And Stephen said a few thing that helped me figure things out:??
RELIABILITY, TRUST, and RESOURCEFULNESS are more important for co-founders at the beginning of the business than particular domain expertise.
Oftentimes, because you already have been through thick and thin, you are already familiar with the capabilities of a FRIEND who becomes a partner, whereas you might be hesitant or unfamiliar how to delegate tasks with a stranger.
The more important thing than friendship when starting the company is reliability and trustworthiness — this oftentimes is already established with your friends, but it comes down more to whether you have the trust in your new partner to be able to achieve the tasks and roles that you agree to.??
That's the thing. In strict business, you write down a contract of what??exactly??you expect of the other partie and??sue them??if they dont respect it. But when building a startup, you have no idea how thing are going to turn out, you can not clearly define who does what. You have to have enough bond to stick together when you realize you havent thought of half the problem you will have to face and work together to solve them…even if it was not include in your original job??assignment.
A common fear of working with friend is that they ask you unreasonable favor, because you know.. you are FRIENDS!. But if it is something you fear, I guess that mean you dont trust your "friend" enough. You don't trust him being a reasonable person.
Another thing I would add to Stephen's advices and that I thought about a bit later is: you and your co-founder should have the same value. Like in ethic value and like in vision of a better world. You will work hand in hand towards a vision to improve the world, which mean you must have the same definition of what would be a better world.
Today I am writing this article after reading this great great post from @kingSidharth. I pasted the begiining of the post below but I HIGHLY recommend you to read it in full!??
This is the stuff, this is what you must feel towards your co-founder. There is nothing such as a perfect co-founder, like there is no such thing as the perfect life partner. You just meet someone you feel as this je ne sais quoi that can make you better and you spend time together growing in the same direction, until it feels as if everything falls into place. You don't meet a perfect co-founder, you meet a potential and you build him to become your perfect one. You also accept to be changed to become his perfect one.
You already know the things I am about to say here. They are dead obvious; but that???s the problem ??? they are??dead??obvious.
You are not the best programmer in the world, I???ve seen better ones. Nor am I the best designer in the world, you???ve seen better ones.??None of us is the best person out there.??But you know what???That???s irrelevant! Because we are best for each other.
I have not seen anyone who brings out??this??best in me. We just fit in all of this perfectly well. I can hire a programmer, you can hire a designer.??But we cannot hire a co-founder. There is no??end to the ideas and inspiration that flows when I am with you.
If someone was to tell me, ???You suck!??? ??? I might laugh and ignore, or just punch him in the face. But when you say it??? hell you don???t even need to say it. I know when you???re thinking that. I appreciate so much this??profound understanding and comfort-level that we???ve created… [read the full post]