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Co-founder’s Haystack

Startup co-founders are like the needle in your or someone else’s haystack.

You get paid to do something for these reasons.

  1. You control revenue.
  2. You do something that is needed and those that don’t know how to do it, don’t like to do it, don’t do it well, or don’t have time to do it.

It’s that simple.

Either bring in revenue or have a needed skill set.

In the early startup, the founders do almost everything. Part of the growth of startup management is to do less better – outsourcing to other team members, freelancers or those who provide professional services.

This is one of the reasons, why I feel it’s a leap of courage, fear or stupidity or maybe, just dumb luck to have a co-founder with whom you no prior experience working with. If searching for cofounders, none of those folks you have worked with before, don’t want to work with you at your new startup. You need a pivot and find out why.

Maybe you don’t have the skill sets necessary to lead a startup. You have a great idea and one or more of the necessary skill sets needed to create a great startup. But a great startup is innovation,  it’s the monetization of that idea. It’s not a sole activity. What is your work experience? Are those skill sets the prime skill sets needed to be a CEO?

Maybe, you are asking the wrong people.  Maybe, the people you are asking have the wrong impression of you. Maybe, they are risk adverse with you. I have a good friend who I would love to do a startup with. It will never happen. Maybe, if I asked a mutual friend and they stepped up, he would also. Maybe, but he never be first to a new startup or an idea.

Maybe, people don’t see your leadership skills. Think about this one. Maybe, you are asking the people who haven’t seen your leadership skills. Find those who have and ask them. Even if they don’t have all those skill sets you need for your startup, they know your leadership potential, and I bet they know someone, who could be a valued member of your startup team.

Maybe, you need to go outside your circle to a friend, of a friend, and their support and interest. This may be risky, but research has shown that friends of friends are more receptive then, friends to new opportunities.

Maybe you’re not offering your founder what they want to hear? Many founders end up not being their company’s face. Some do.

One of the most successful founders, whose business was started in the early days of the commercial internet, was Craigslist.  Started as a flyer, Craig Newark, walked the streets of San Francisco. Connecting with people, who had an interest in this new thing called “The Internet”. Now almost twenty years later, Craig, is head of customer service, he listens and listens well. He answers his email. His partner, Jim Buckmaster, is the CEO and the public voice of Craigslist. They have built a valuable business offering services to millions of people worldwide. Some say, Craigslist is worth a billion dollars, some say, craigslist destroyed print newspapers, I say Craigslist, has connected people for love, hookups, jobs, stuff, rides, and many other things, and activities all as extension of Craig’s original task of putting people together. And that’s a wonderful thing.

Much of what we do, at SiliconAlley Startup Asset Management, is what I call dog training. We don’t train the startup, we train startup founders. We are all in this together with a common goal of completion of the milestones that lay ahead of us. It’s not right, wrong or indifferent. It’s listening and moving with speed towards the accomplishment of those goals. And sometimes, you just have to pivot  yourself in your startup.

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