Final, sorry, dating a startup founder apologise, but
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Gloria Lin has gone on a lot of dates in the past year. No, not that kind. But she quickly found that was easier said than done. You have to both want to do a startup - requiring similar levels of high-risk tolerance - and be available at the same time, which depends on life and financial circumstances. Just like real-life dating, sometimes it seemed like I was going to end up alone. Eventually, I met Joel Poloney and everything clicked.
What have you explored recently? Are we interested in the same industries and business models? Broad roles: Are we interested in potentially exploring a co-founder relationship together? What would that look like? After spot checking for initial alignment, Lin dives straight into tackling a project with a potential co-founder.
Lin suggests timeboxing this exploratory period to about two weeks to maximize both learning fast and moving quickly. I had their process in mind each time I was ideating. When investigating a consumer play with a potential co-founder, Lin is a firm believer that you have to try to build something.
Contrast that with enterprise, which is more about customer discovery. Customers will tell you what their problems are. If you listen very carefully, you might be able to figure out a jumping off point to build a company around. How do you currently manage this process? How big of a pain point is it for you, compared to other pain points you have?
If you could wave a magic wand and have that problem go away, how would that affect your work or your customers? That said, there are indicators that you may be on the right track. Segment is a great example of this. With the right person, you can push through that, and move onto other areas and experiments.
But sometimes when ideas die on the vine, the partnership can lose steam. You start to question if this person is the right partner for you. Other times, a business idea had true potential, but we discovered that we had incompatible working styles.
Founder Story of OnePlus: How Not to Die as a Startup
There are lots of ways people can decide not to work together, but for me personally, I most appreciated when there was a clear go or no-go date, and we had one or two direct conversations about the viability of us working together. Those are the relationships I feel better about today.
Once you have a very basic sense of how prototyping is going, the next step is to tackle the finer points of what the co-founder relationship might look like. Enter the co-founder questionnairethe getting-to-know-you gauntlet that Lin throws down before seriously considering starting a company with someone. As with most things in life, timing is everything.
For example:. Working at a company alongside someone is very different than co-founding a new startup together. Could you see yourself getting married?
50 Questions to Ask a Potential Startup Co-Founder
If you ask these on the first date, you might seem too intense. Here, she gives a tactical overview of how the questions evolved and how co-founding pairs can put them to work:.
This specific questionnaire for co-founders has been quietly making the rounds in certain entrepreneurial circles for some time. Lin then expanded on that question set to make it even more robust and pull out what she was interested in learning.
And it will continue to evolve as entrepreneurs take the doc, and add or subtract questions as they figure out what works for them. Lin found the questionnaire to be a valuable tool as she was looking for a fellow company builder. This is how I react when I get stressed. I found that this process uncovered our weak spots as a collective.
Lin notes that while you can run through the questionnaire several different ways, there are some essential elements to keep in mind:. Custom-tailor your own test. Pare it down for a lightweight version at co-founder speed dating events.
Keep your eyes on your own paper.
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Reconvene to go over your respective answers. If you discuss the answers in person, that can take at least six to 10 hours. You could spend a few days on this part. One founder estimated that she spent at least 60 hours on it over a four week period. A natural question comes up as founding pairs run through the questionnaire: How much alignment do you need in your answers?
As a product leader, I had to have someone with a technical background to build the thing. The second litmus test I always had in the back of my mind was: When I'm not in the room am I going to agree with their judgment calls?
Would I trust this person in their hiring and firing decisions? Could this person oversee an important function for the company, whether it's lawyers or finances? If they exhibit humility, a willingness to learn and self-awareness around these areas of growth, you can still make a great team.
As it stands, the questionnaire contains 50 questions, too many to cover in full here. How would they be an asset to your team and where would you have to help them out? How self-aware do they seem? How vulnerable do they get?
How did you handle it?
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What sounds ideal and what sounds like hell? What about once we start to scale? You might start off leading sales but then quickly have to give away your Legos to someone else - I was looking for people who were very comfortable with that.
Then rate your passion in each of the areas on a scale of none to high e. Cluster AORs based on rank and discuss how they could be assigned to individuals.
John is a 10 in product, so he gets that AOR. Break ties using the passion rating. Nick is a 7 in sales with medium passion and Gloria is a 7 in Sales with high passion, so Gloria will take on sales. How much money should we raise? People often disagree about how big they want the company to get, or how quickly they want to burn.
How should founder equity be set?
Dating a startup founder
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The Founder Dating Playbook - Here's the Process I Used to Find My Co-Founder. Get The Review delivered Get The Review delivered. Join. Working at a company alongside . "Foundr's the perfect platform for the new generation of entrepreneurs who don't know where to go or what to do. Aspiring entrepreneur looking to start your business? I highly recommend . Nov 09, What it's like to date a startup founder. Some back story, when we started dating she was working two part time jobs; one was retail the other was with a Japanese Author: William Hwang.
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Oct 12, Check out what we're up to at CoFoundersLab, an online matching platform at marionfoaleyarn.com to help entrepreneurs find the right co-founders, advisers. Feb 04, Startup 50 Questions to Ask a Potential Startup Co-Founder A startup veteran shares the extensive list of questions she used for co-founder dating. Cantlin is a year-old investment adviser as well as the founder/CEO of the restaurant-bill-payment startup Full Society. About four years ago, she ended a serious relationship, and Author: David Zax.
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