It’s certain that you cannot possess all the knowledge of the world. It’s wise to start with a co-founder, but don’t start with any co-founder; your best friend may not be your best co-founder. A bad co-founder can kill your startup.
Here are the 6 traits to look in your potential co-founder from my experience:
Does your potential co-founder possess the skills that you don’t? A startup is like building a car, which needs an engine, wheels, and a structure. If you are an expert in designing engines then make sure you find someone who provides for the wheels.
Often your startup will require prompt decision-making. Is your co-founder making the decision process slow? A slow decision is as lethal as a wrong decision. Windows Phone is a great example of a slow decision. You want to start with a person who is decisive.
Is your co-founder devoting 100% of their time and energy to the startup? If you hear them say ‘I am thinking about taking a job for a year, but I’ll come back to our startup’ or ‘that internship will look great on my resume’, just RUN away from them! You want people who are passionate about the startup and not about their resume.
Lack of communication increases insecurity and conflicts. This can lead to poor team-coordination, which will harm your startup in the long run. Make sure your co-founder is able to communicate their ideas and feelings effectively.
Is the person an avid learner? The world rewards the person who is a learner. The same is true for your startup. In short:
The sum of the knowledge that your startup has is directly proportional to the startup’s success.
Accountable for Mistakes
We are human beings, we are not perfect, we make mistakes. What matters the most is what do you do after you have made a mistake. Do you admit it? or do your give an excuse for it? or worst of all, blame it on the other person. You should start with a person who is not reflected in the latter two.
A great thing about us, the humans, is that we can learn anything. Your negative traits can be overcome by knowledge.