in Mixer Labs, I choice of co-founder is very lucky. When you decide to start a company, choose co-founder is one of the most important decision. Your co-founder like your spouse, most of the time you will be with them every day, in all the major issues you need and what they agreed (build products, how to publish, whether to sell the company… ).
in addition, the co-founder of also will be the foundation of corporate culture and professional ethics. Along with your team in the first one or two people, will determine the startup work for everything, and equally important, is how to do the job.
here’s what I’m looking for a great co-founder, adhere to the highest standards.
1. The ability to communicate
You and your co-founder can be honest and frank dialogue? When they made the wrong decision or work for the wrong reasons, can you tell them? Can you give honest and critical opinion, can you accept their honesty and critical opinion? If you made some decision for personal interests, can you explain the reasons for this and they are honest?
Start-up pressure is very big. In spite of the pressure, but you need a candid dialogue and co-founder. If you can’t communicate with each other, learn from your mistakes, then your startup will not progress.
What is said above is all based on mutual respect and trust, and realize that you are in the fight together. Like any relationship, co-founder of relations will experience a lot of ups and downs. Walking along the bumpy, the key is to communicate with each other.
2. Clarify the key problems
Make “friends” and business are very different things with them.
What are your goals? Why do you want to venture? People will start a company for many reasons. Some people are want to make a lot of money, some people is to change the world, some people is to be a web celebrity. You want to make sure the co-founder and your goal is the same. Otherwise, you may be for $5 million, take the call of Google’s exit, while your co-founder hope to do a big business, business cooperation and immediately terminated.
Corporate culture is what you want? Do you want to have 3 ~ 5 in the corporate culture is the key? Do you agree with their point of view? Do you want to hire a generalist or specialist? When recruiting new employees, do you think is the most key 3 ~ 5 traits?
Your comments on the investors are the same? What is the role of investors in the company? Chief executive of one of my friends has been dismissed, because in a very important strategic decision, his co-founder and vc stand together. The co-founder of why he do that? Because he felt that once the vc investment company, that is to make strategic decisions. This is a naive, but some people just think so. You must understand, co-founder of ideas.
3. Based on the role of agreement
Many large companies is the founder of a competent or early as chief executive (for example, Steve? Steve jobs, bill? Gates, larry? Page, mark? Zuckerberg), another person as a technical director or supporting (Steve? Wozniak, Paul? Allen, sergei? Brin, more than other Facebook founder), in this mode the companies have been significant breakthrough.
if both of you want to be a chief executive (as a compromise, one generally entitled “President”), you agree to make all the big decisions, two people’s status is “equality”, so you will be ready for the possibility of conflict. Decisions at startup, appear very easily, the co-founder of you, and you also cooperate very well, so what do you think this model works. Say you, on the question of who calls the shots and make a final decision is not clearly, you will be in a dangerous precedent for future conflicts.
even if you all agree on 95% of the things, but as long as there is 5% of the objection can let the company down for several months. You may claim to veto, which means that the consensus, the company cannot get development. This means death for start-up companies. For start-up companies, all of the core premise and competitive advantage is to have the ability to move quickly.
before founded the company, you have to clear a decision-maker. Don’t pull the so pain of communication to the company business early. In my humble opinion, if necessary, in 99% of cases, the chief executive should be decision, whether business or product problems.
you must be agreed in advance a solution to the conflict. For example, “our outside consultants Melissa can do mediation.”
founder may occur between competing situation. Chief executive is often considered the people invited to the meeting, he can attract vc (this is not attractive, but that’s what you think). If two people want to be chief executive, the person who didn’t when may because didn’t get enough exposure, and think they got unfair treatment.
this kind of situation will be exposed as time goes on. Maybe you have the most humble and very good co-founder, but after six months, they may start to feel forgotten. If this happens, you should try to find a way, should not compromise on chief executive role, and to increase their exposure.
4. Skills do not overlap (unless you are writing code)
usually a start-up company will only have one product. Two people to develop prospect is usually the result of the product, or let the professional group to design, or unable to reach a consensus on the development direction. This does not mean that bad person to want to find a product. On the contrary, it means that you need a man with a strong sense of product to set development direction, and to set specific goals for him.
is similar, the three people in the business, set up a technology company is usually a disaster. Usually don’t have enough “business” let three commercial co-founder do (unless than technology companies, the company a lot of work is to establish brand/operations, such as glasses discount website Warby Parker, cosmetics website Birch Box, etc., in the company can easily develop role).
The only useful overlapping skills are all founder is developers. Even so, also want to clear everyone’s division of labor (for example, who’ll be the chief executive officer).
5. Have some of the best condition
co-founder can possess the following qualities that is best.
Have known each other for many years. You know each other, respect and trust, this will help to more open communication. So you know you get advice or difficult conversations are well-intentioned.
Who work with them directly. In people’s life and work performance may be completely different. You’d better with them in the related areas of the business or other projects. Once the hard work to follow, and involves the problem of money, people’s attitudes will happen very big change. If you have ever worked with, then you can get to know each other each other’s work style and pace, so the efficiency will be higher. So you also can better define the role of work together, and the role of trust each other.
the author Elad Gil, Mixer, founder of the Labs & amp; CEO, worked in Google is responsible for the wireless team hatch. Before this, had also worked at McKinsey, served as director of Twitter strategy.