How to Build a Healthy and Successful Co-founder Relationship

February 21, 2021

Paul Graham said that they saw a co-founder leave in about 20% of startups they funded at YCombinator.

In my own research, I found that the co-founder disagreements to be in the top 3 reasons for a startup to fail, bootstrapped or funded. The other 2 reasons being - building something nobody wants, and running out of runway.

The secrets to a strong co-founder relationship

1- Remember that you are pursing the same goal

People come together as co-founders because they have a shared goal and a shared view on how they want to achieve it.

It’s especially important to remember this during a conflict or difference of opinion.

You might think that a problem should or tackled in a certain way, whereas your co-founder might have a different idea.

This is not where you duke it out with each other on whose right.

The right way to solve this is to objectively lay out the pros and cons of each idea, and then objectively choose what’s best for both (or all) of you.

Because ultimately, you are pursing the same goal.

2- Always be completely honest with each other

At the beginning of our journey, Sankalp and I promised that we will always express fully to each other.

If I do something that’s stupid, I want him to call out my bullshit immediately and I’ll do the same.

At that instant, by not calling it out, we might feel good and temporarily avoid conflict.

But what we are really doing is robbing each other of chance to improve and get better.

3- Don’t let ego come in the way

Ego is when you think “this is my idea, therefore is great” is more important than “this is the right idea for us to achieve our goals and succeed.”

4- Trust that each will do what’s best for the other

If you don’t have this trust from Day 0, then you’re likely not partnering up with the right person.

When shit hits the fan, and it often will in the entrepreneurial path, you need to be able to rely on each other eyes closed, because there’s a dozen other fires to put out and this isn’t one you want to be putting out then.

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