Alignment of Co-Founder Goals

Cover of The Founder, Issue 4
Image via Wikipedia

It goes without saying that picking the right co-founder is critically important. This is someone you’re going to spend more time with than your spouse and kids for the next 4-7 years, so choose wisely. In the past few days I’ve heard several different stories of co-founders that broke up because they had different goals. Here’s some of what I heard:

  • One co-founder was hard charging and focused on growing the business while the other one wanted to maximize short-term profit and put cash in his pocket. The co-founder focused on cash was bought out last year.
  • One co-founder wanted to make recent college graduates an integral part of their business model and coach them to be productive members of the company while the other co-founder didn’t like working with junior people that weren’t trained. The co-founder that didn’t like working with junior people was bought out three years ago.
  • One co-founder was focused on the product and vision while the other co-founder was supposed to be focused on sales. The co-founder in charge of sales refused to cold call and the partnership broke up 45 days after the venture began.

My recommendation is to make sure co-founder goals are aligned before the company is founded and then to talk about each other’s goals on a regular basis.

What else? What other thoughts do you have on the alignment of co-founder goals?

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