Ahmed El-Sharkasy


Don’t Choose Your Co-Founder!

Don’t choose a co-founder and let the dream pulls you both!

Choosing a co-founder is very tough and life changing decision. You will be working tirelessly for at least the next five years of your life on solving one problem together, so it’s very heartbreaking and damaging to choose the wrong one.

I have noticed few things that can go wrong in choosing your co-founder:

Choosing your best friend

The founders’ relationship is different than friendship although it can be very close. Your cofounder is not necessarily the guy you want to spend all the day talking to him and sharing thoughts with.

Choosing your replica

You want someone who has different skill sets that complement yours and not someone with the same strength and weakness points. Each one of you must have his edge.

Misaligned visions and values

These are hard to identify especially early on but are crucial for compatibility. Co-founders can disagree on almost everything except their vision and company values. The “How” can change from year to another, but unless they are both in sync about the end goal and passionate about it, it won’t work.

The “ME” person:

Try to avoid individuals who don’t listen. They always want to see their ideas only, and they are extremely hard to collaborate and work with! These people will hurt you and the overall company culture.

Honesty and Commitment are not tolerable

Sometimes I find people willing to make compromises with colleagues around these two and I feel they are basics! Founders must be absolutely honest with each other, and they have to commit and give whatever it takes not to make it just work but to reach very ambitious goals.

It’s a hard choice, but you might need to take at some point if you want to build a company, so do it wisely and have the courage and openness to find someone with whom you can be successful. This does not mean you can’t be successful on your own but building a startup is really a hard job and you will need someone to brainstorm with, share the load and push you forward. Paul Graham has stated this nicely here in his post on Startup Mistakes and for me:

My advice is not to choose a co-founder but to work with people who share the same vision, goal and enthusiasm till eventually, it became clear and obvious who will be your co-founder!

If you want to follow my writings, I write a lot on Knowledge Officer in a daily Knowledge Letter. KO is my startup with which we are aiming to put an end to the endless clickbait culture we are suffering from! Give the product a try and let me know your feedback as it’s still an MVP.

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