So I have been a little light on the blog posts of late but that is because I have shifted more from thinking and theorising to doing, which is no bad thing. Since I last blogged there has been some significant progress.
I spent last weekend locked up in a flat in sunny Largs with a potential technical co-founder. While I wasn’t actively looking for a technical co-founder-I have previously blogged about the issues of being a non-technical founder- I was very much open to the idea. Michael approached me after reading this blog. Michael had been working on a similar project assessing how the internet could be used to deliver learning and teaching resources to teenagers studying biology at school. When Michael read the blog he was coming to the realisation that the market was too small to build a sustainable business on.
When we initially met for a coffee it seemed that it was a good connect and there was definitely potential for a partnership. I am not precious about my idea and my mantra has always been that I am happy to include anyone in the business if they can add real value. However, no matter how technically incompetent I may be I was in no rush to go jumping into bed without doing some personal ‘due diligence’. As such we went away for the weekend to discuss the idea in more detail but ultimately to establish if we could work together over the long-term. As Michael so succinctly articulated it- “It’s my objective to find out if you’re a cock!”. No doubt there will be some challenging times ahead but ultimately we got on really well and have a shared passion for delivering on the idea and now have a clear idea of what we need to do in the early stages to make this a success
What all this does mean is that work on the Minimum Viable Product can really start to ramp up and we should have something up by the end of next week at the latest.
I have spoken to numerous people who have had both successful and unsuccessful experiences of getting involved with co-founders that they don’t know. In my experience there are so many unknowns in the business at this early stage and rather than trying to work out everything at the start the most important thing for me is to ensure that there is alignment over the key issues. Thanks to Peter Jaco at Cloud Tomo for his advice to write everything down and agree on everything that has been discussed (you should see the size of the mind map from the weekend!). Another key learning point is don’t make quick, easy decisions at the start because you don’t want to rock the boat…eventually these will come out and when they do there will be a lot more to lose. Face any difficult issues face on from the start- whether these be around equity, roles and responsibilities.
I have heard many people comparing the process to finding a ‘lover’ or a marriage but since we have just been away for the weekend together I decided to steer clear of this analogy!
If you are going through similar process I would highly recommend reading the relevant chapters in The Founder’s Dilemmas by Noam Wasserman, it really opened my eyes to some of the problems that can occur later on in the business based on decisions made at the very start.
Now to get back to some real work….