We’re halfway through the Zeroth accelerator now. It’s been a freaking grind. The daytime is filled with going out to talk to customers. In the evening, we have dinner and talk about what we learned from those customers. The workday doesn’t stop there. We go back to our dungeon for all night coding sessions.
Rinse and repeat. Every single day.
We ate the head of this piggy. Fearless in food and startups — fuel for the dungeon coding sessions.
It’s freaking exhausting. One powerful force that keeps us going (in addition to the free flat-whites from WeWork) is working with great co-founders. Any time someone reaches a breaking point, someone else is there to pick the other right back up.
- “OMG, we have to rebuild the whole damn bot infrastructure.”
- “Sh*t our whole user flow changes from Facebook to Slack. I have 1 hour to redesign this. Someone is trying to sign up right now.”
- “Argh, our runway is only 10-months. We gotta execute now, now, now!”
It’s hard to predict when those breaking points will come for each person. There are hurdles. There are distractions. Nothing ever works out as planned. Working with great co-founders helps you get through the tough times.
Let’s get ‘em!
Here are some thoughts we’ve gathered from across our network:
Thomas Pun, Growth at Stripe and advisor to early stage startups:
“After the breakup in my first YC startup, my ego took over and I deceived myself into thinking I was capable of turning the company around as a single founder. I thought I could work twice as hard to compensate. How silly was I.”
YuHsuan Chao, Co-founder at Botimize:
“I’ve known my co-founder for 8+ years. Botimize is our 9th project together. We’ve spent too many sleepless nights together with our team. We’ve been financially bootstrapping most of the time doing everything it takes to survive. It takes living around the poverty line for months and working under pressure to see the best and worst in each other. What doesn’t kill a team just makes it stranger. We’re happy being the strange ones together.”
Queen Joseph, Customer Success Manager at http://www.queenjoseph.me:
“I was an Independent Consultant for years and worked directly with a few co-founders on freelance and contract projects. The great co-founders that I’ve worked with knew the value of communication with everyone on their team, the importance of transparency, fostered collaboration, had a vision for their company, focused on things that mattered at that moment and had good follow through. What I’ve learned from that experience:
- Think like a Founder even if you’re an employee or contractor.
- Always do more than expected.
- Co-founders may not have all of the answers (and it’s okay) but they find people who do.”
“The best part about the ‘Rounded Strategy’ team that we still exist as a set of cofounders for the last four years. We invest (after hours) in huge bolts of energy. We don’t have money, but we don’t want to rely on someone else’s money and interests.
The second, last, but not least, part is the creative freedom! Only proper co-founders or artists can say that. Can you imagine me talking to some heavy weight investor about our business-model? He wasn’t too impressed when I said, “Well … there is no premium bu*****t currency because it is not fair play.”
Aileen Schultz, Founder at a semi-stealth company:
“The only thing motivating me to move forward with building a company, is the other people involved: my first clients, prospective partners, and everyone that supports the idea, not because it’s me, but because the idea makes sense — period.”
Jeff Kinsey, Entrepreneur/Educator/Speaker at Marketing Mad Man:
“I have had a number of co-founders. Some good. Some not so good. And a few great — actually amazing — co-founders that I now consider family. As you point out one measure is the ability to help pick others up when they hit the wall. And in any startup worth it’s weight in ramen noodles, it will occur often.”
What are your thoughts and experiences around co-founders? Would love to share with the rest of the community!
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