The one thing you should look for in a co-founder | by Younes Khadraoui | Apr, 2022

Not taken seriously, this will make your company crash.

I co-founded 3 companies during my career, as a solopreneur and with co-founders, and I must confess that having cofounders can be really helpful. Having people working with you with the same objective can be stimulating, putting some pressure on you to succeed, and of course speeding the execution of your project. However, this does not mean you should pick the first person you find at the corner. Having the wrong persons will probably make your company crash.

You can find hundreds of articles like this one, telling you how to choose your cofounders. Everyone has his own opinion of the subjects, depending on his own experience. Some will tell you to choose cofounders with complementary skills, others will tell you to work with your friends and other will tell you not too. There is no right answer actually.

Some successful companies have been founded by only tech guys, other by a mix of tech & business. Other have been founded by friends, and some by strangers. Remember that when reading an article (like this one :)), you are just reading the result of the author’s own experience, nothing more.

I will not pretend to have the ultimate answer. Again, this is just the result of my own experience. However, there is something I found common to all successful companies, that has been my case too, and it actually makes sense when you think of it. There is something that all cofounders need to share, no matter their skills or previous relationship. All cofounders must have the same level of inner motivation. There is nothing more harmful to your company than having cofounders with different level of motivation.

After having cofounded 3 companies, I realized that having cofounders that do not share the same level of motivation as myself is the reason that made my company crash. The reason is simple, having different levels of motivation creates frustration, frustration creates conflicts, conflicts lead ultimately to separation & disintegration of the company.

Levels of motivation & backup plan !

After a decade of entrepreneurship, I identified some patterns among entrepreneurs. I finally found that there are 3 distinct types. Whatever the type you are, just be sure to choose your cofounders accordingly.

I actually like to imagine that creating a company is like sailing a boat, in the middle of the ocean, having just a compass and only water as far as one eyes see. You don’t know when you’ll reach your destination, nor if you even will anyway. The only thing keeping you from giving up is your will to reach your objective. Your cofounders are your crew, and you want to make sure your crew has the same objective as yours, and have the same level of motivation as yours.

The one with a Plan B … better than Plan A

These are people that take as less risk as possible. Before getting into your boat and start sailing in the middle of the ocean, they want to make sure to have another boat that will carry them in case the first one sinks.

These are people that are usually not afraid if the company fails, because they know they have a nice backup plan. They do not feel the pressure of failure, because they just don’t consider it a failure.

The one with a bad plan B

These are people that are willing to take risks, but want to make sure they will survive in case the boat sinks. They took a lifebuoy with them. They don’t want to use it in the middle of the ocean, but they know they have it just in case.

These are people that will make their best to make it work. They’ll work as much as they can to avoid the company from sinking. In case it happens, they know they can survive, but will loose a lot on the road so they want to avoid it.

The one with no plan B

These are people that will take risks at its maximum level. They don’t have any rescue plan, they did not consider anything else except the success of the expedition. If the boat sinks, they’ll just sink with it.

These are people that will work day and night, with tears and sweat and blood, to make the company succeed. They consider it as their last chance, they don’t have any backup plan. They just don’t consider the case of failing.

Now again, no type is better than the others. Depending on what you’re building, your personal situation or just your personality, you are in one of the three categories. You just want to make sure that all members of your crew are of the same one. Just imagine how frustrating it can be, when you are trying to plug holes in the hull with your own hands to avoid the boat from sinking, while your partners are already calling their rescue boat to come and take them away.

#model #modeling selected by Livio Acerbo – original source here