I spoke with a serial startup founder a few weeks ago that clued me on his opinion of what kills startups: conflict at the co-founder level.
Disagreements around the topics of “who gets to decide what, who is working harder, or whose opinion matters most” threaten the very business you are attempting to build.
These issues that co-founders face can simmer slowly for months before coming to a high-boil. …
Five steps to evaluate the business relationship — and what to do should you need to go your separate ways.
Recently, I spoke with Samantha. A first-time founder who had been working on her business for the last three years. Samantha and her co-founder had recently achieved product-market fit. They were doing great, except that Samantha was having a hard time working with her business partner. She recounted frustration after frustration and how things were getting worse after her co-founder, who had promised to quit by year three so Samantha could go at it alone, decided to stay on. Her business partner wasn’t pulling her weight though, and now these broken promises were also weighing on the business relationship. …
We’ll have to go beyond arguing in a post-COVID-19 world and learn how to collaborate with people who think differently than us.
There’s an energy present in the world right now unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. People are rising up in the streets to demand racial justice. A global pandemic upended our lives, having us spend more time at home than we’re used to. And there’s a lot of uncertainty about what’s next.
With everything that is present, how we do move forward together, stronger than ever?
Our world faces many existential threats — like rising income inequality, healing racial discrimination and systemic injustice, the demonization of migrants and Hispanics, and an Earth crying for sustainability — that I get discouraged when change doesn’t happen. If we’re going to tackle these issues together, we’re going to have to learn how to work together with people who think differently than us to co-create a World 2.0. …
How to seize this moment — and implement new radical ideas to our democracy — so history stops repeating itself once and for all.
These last few weeks have been hard. I’ve been fired up. Anxious. Hopeful that perhaps this is the moment we all have been waiting for: for real change to occur.
As a disclaimer: I’m a brown person (I’m a first-generation Mexican-American) and I have experienced racism firsthand. Sometimes as micro-aggressions and jokes in the workplace; other times as more blatant attacks on the color of my skin. I write this because these experiences influence my perspective on the issue of racial healing. …
It’s more important than ever that we prepare for a post-COVID-19 world that collaborates together to solve our problems.
As I sat at my desk viewing the protests that had engulfed the United States recently, I thought to myself, “When did we start viewing each other as the enemy?”
The anger. The self-righteousness. A virus that had neither allegiance to being Republican or Democrat was suddenly being politicized, freedom and liberation pitted against public health and saving human lives; as if the concepts were understood by the virus itself.
Our moment of unity, unfortunately, would not arrive. That’s evident now. Instead, everyone was getting angrier and more divided than ever, including me. …
Taking care of yourself first is the best thing you can do for yourself right now.
But when the world suddenly becomes virtual and you have no choice but to connect remotely to get work done, get your emotional support and social connection, and even order toilet paper and other needed supplies, it can feel like screens are all we have.
After four years running a virtual consulting business, I’ve found that creating a workspace environment that is your level of zen, finding non-screen activities to indulge in, and minimizing distractions are great ways to creating balance. …
A better way to manage remote teams when the entire company is remote.
“I made a lot of costly mistakes in the beginning,” said Alina Trigubenko, Co-Founder of Awarenow, a startup that is creating business management software for coaching organizations.
As Alina and I sat down to talk about her experience growing her company, she spoke about the benefits and challenges of having a remote-based workforce:
No corporate B.S.
“Everyone gets to pick their comfort zone,” said Alina, “and that makes work personalized.” She is building a distributed startup with a team spread throughout the world.
Articulate, a SaaS development company, is another distributed business that conveys their remote-first policy on the hiring page of their…
Make it objective and follow these five questions when needing to dissolve a business partnership.
I recently took a discovery call from a startup founder who wanted advice on how to separate from her co-founder:
My co-founder and I are having irreconcilable differences.
He expects an increase in 25% in his equity share when he simply isn’t pulling his weight — and it’s just ludicrous!
I put in more time than he does, and I’m just tired of him expecting something for nothing in return.
The founder was clearly frustrated. And this frustration was affecting her ability to negotiate. I asked her a follow-up question, “Do you know why your co-founder is asking for an increase in 25% equity? …
Follow these guidelines to structure the relationship so you can scale quickly.
We want to make sure we’re equal in everything.
We each contributed to the idea equally.
We both want to be in charge and equally invested in the company’s future.
Founders may find sharing the CEO title appetizing, preferring to divvy up the leadership, responsibilities, and duties of a typical CEO 50/50.
Follow this formula and make the equity conversation about each founder’s value, contribution, and commitment level.
Let’s split the equity equally.
That way it’s “fair,” and we’re equal partners.
What do you say?
Nearly 40 percent of startup teams spend a day or less agreeing on their equity, Harvard Business Professor Noam Wasserman found, who studied high-stakes decisions at more than 6,000 startups over the course of 15 years. Of those, an overwhelming amount split their equity evenly.
“A quick, even split suggests that the founders don’t have the business maturity to have a tough dialogue”
— Noah Wasserman
Whether because of avoidance, too much optimism, or lack of knowledge, founder teams that split their equity by default were also found, per Wasserman’s research, to have triple levels of unhappiness within their teams. …