The best combination: One person who can build the product, and another that can sell. With a history of working together and common motives.
Now that may sound like common sense, but picking a co-founder is not as easy as it seems. Making wrong choices is fatal. Naval’s observations are right on spot.
Here are some of my favorites:
- If one founder wants to build a cool product, another one wants to make money, and yet another wants to be famous, it won’t work.
- Pay close attention — true motivations are revealed, not declared.
- If it doesn’t feel right, keep looking. If you’re compromising, keep looking.
- Avoid overly rational short-term thinkers.
- Business founders who don’t code use bad proxies for picking technical co-founders (“10 years with Java!”). Technical founders who don’t sell also use bad proxies (“Harvard MBA!”).
- If you’re going to fall out with your co-founder, do it early.
Anyone interested in starting on their own, must read this.