Starting up with a cofounder, a partner, a friend - Daniel Tenner

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  • Going to talk about what it’s like to start a business with someone else
    From the point of view of the tech cofounder
    How many people have their own startups already?
    How many want to start their own startup?






  • You’re not completely crazy (or at least there’s two of you)
    If you’re starting your first start-up, it really makes sense to have a cofounder

  • You don’t go looking for a cofounder to start a business with tomorrow anymore than you go looking for a wife to marry tomorrow

  • Things can end badly
    need to be extra careful
    Don’t want to lose a friend as well as a business
    This is why I put together first an article and now these slides - because no business is worth losing your friends over, and there’s a few simple rules that you can put in practice to dramatically reduce the risk of falling out with your cofounder friend.

  • When cofounders break up, it’s usually because they’re having a disagreement about something.
  • Especially if starting with someone that you know well
    You assume they know what you mean
  • - the business is successful
    - the business is unsuccessful
    - working hard on the startup



  • Apart from bringing up the points that need to be discussed, there’s more you can do to make the agreements explicit.

  • Another tool for making agreements explicit is writing things down...



  • It might seem like your one chance...



  • Starting up with a cofounder, a partner, a friend - Daniel Tenner

    1. 1. Starting Up with a cofounder, a partner, a friend Daniel Tenner Cofounder & CTO Woobius danieltenner.com @swombat
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    8. 8. Why a cofounder? Sanity Stability Persistence Perspective Skills Horsepower
    9. 9. But...
    10. 10. A better process... 1. Get to know people 2. Find cofounders among them
    11. 11. Or... start up with an existing friend
    12. 12. But...
    13. 13. So what can you do?
    14. 14. Disagreements ❖ Disagreements can happen when you haven’t discussed how to deal with things in advance. ❖ Disagreements between founders kill start- ups. ❖ Once a major disagreement is reached, it’s hard to think rationally.
    15. 15. Implicit Agreements
    16. 16. What do we both mean by... ?
    17. 17. Don’t assume, check.
    18. 18. Make agreements explicit
    19. 19. How?
    20. 20. Detail your agreements ❖ Explicit numbers ❖ “We’re going to give this 2 years” ❖ “I’ll be happy if we each make £50k/year out of this”
    21. 21. How?
    22. 22. Write things down ❖ Until it’s written down, it’s implicit ❖ People forget what they agreed ❖ Clear writing brings out disagreements ❖ Writing = coding for people
    23. 23. Don’t be afraid of the bad stuff ❖ Embarrassing topics ❖ People’s circumstances change ❖ Shit happens
    24. 24. Don’t make it work at all costs ❖ Grab opportunities - don’t jump off a cliff ❖ If there’s a major disagreement, seriously consider pulling the plug ❖ Trust your gut
    25. 25. In short... ❖ Starting up is awesome ❖ Starting up with a good cofounder is even better ❖ But...
    26. 26. In short... ❖ Make agreements explicit ❖ Detail your agreements ❖ Write things down ❖ Don’t be afraid of discussing negative scenarios ❖ Don’t make it work at all costs
    27. 27. Daniel Tenner Cofounder, Woobius danieltenner.com @swombat

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