Having cofounders and the great founding team by Steve Barsh, Dreamit
July 19, 2019
Steve Barsh, managing partner at Dreamit, shares with us some advices and insights about why having cofounders is important and how to build up the founding team.
Some of the critical takeaways from our discussion were his stance on how founders and cofounders should structure their relationships, particularly from the get-go, and the preferable dynamic of those relationships that will help avoid future problems.
Why cofounders should be different in a variety of regards?
A common view shared among most is that having cofounders is extremely helpful. Some may be inclined to believe that a cofounder should be similar to other cofounders or the founder because this will prevent friction.
However, Steve shares his belief on why cofounders should actually be different in a variety of regards. Cofounders and founders shouldn’t always agree with each other.Ideas need to be bounced off of one another in order to fully understand and appreciate different perspectives.
While having similar personalities and thinking patterns may be better for personal relationships, having different ones will be better for building a successful business. Nearly all successful, recognizable companies are built by cofounders who often times have different approaches to problems. All angles need to be explored in order to be confident in arriving at the optimal one.
“Dating before marriage” is crucial
Furthermore, one should be careful about getting to know a potential cofounder before bringing them on board.
As Steve puts it, “dating before marriage” is crucial. Though some may present attractive qualities at first, understanding the entirety of their work ethic, approach to problem-solving, and goalswill prevent cofounders from having large scale disagreements in the future which could lead to damaging results.
That said, these problems sometimes cannot be avoided after presenting themselves.
Carefully structured exit plans should be made at the beginning.
Nothing should be assumed in this regard and legalities will certainly add to the complexity and unpleasant nature of founder breakups. Forming a contingency plan is not pleasant but necessary.
Have the top “A-level” founding team
Steve also speaks on how he has observed that “A-level” individuals tend to surround themselves with other A-level people.
Founders shouldn’t be afraid of others challenging them but should rather welcome this. Finding people who will disagree will spark productive conversations.
Confidence in oneself usually brings on others who may oppose your beliefs. Founders should do their best to find cofounders who are just as confident as them and can both stand up for their ideas and present intelligent, persuasive arguments.
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