It’s a marriage.
I’m a bit surprised by how many entrepreneurs start something merely hoping to have a business, solve a problem, or accomplish something. I can’t recall when I’ve ever seen that work, substantially.
Launching a startup is like having a child, and finding committed cofounders is a marriage.
The difference is that you kind of, often, have the kid in mind before getting married, so maybe it’s like adopting a baby.
Here’s what I mean and why this is so important and so hard.
You have a baby in mind and you think it’s gorgeous but there’s a saying in startups, “your baby is ugly.” Everyone loves their own baby and no one wants to hear (or say) that it’s ugly. It’s impolite.
Thing is, while this baby may grow up to Einstein or Bill Gates, right now all it does I eat, sleep, and cry. And poop all over you.
“But it’s so cute!! And we can raise this baby together!!” as it pukes all over you.
Now, find a partner.
Divorce will not go well for the child. Divorce destroys wealth and breaks up families. Sure, there are reasons it’s better that it happen, but not many.
So you need someone who will never quit, never leave, and stick by your side. Abandonment is immoral. This is in sickness and in health. For richer and for poorer.
And let me remind, it’s 24/7. Yes, you did the hardest part and gave birth, (congratulations by the way), and now everyone’s life changes in ways not even imagined.
Baby wakes up at 2 am with a fever and and subsequent $20000 doctor’s bill. Who’s getting up?
Baby needs to be fed, every couple hours. Every couple hours, 24/7. Who’s doing that? “But I have work tomorrow.” No, you don’t. This is the only priority.
Baby needs clothes, and diapers, and food, and a bed. And no one gives you money to have a baby, maybe baby can get a scholarship to go to college but for now you’re on your own.
And then baby says Dada.
Damn. It’s all over. You laugh and cry. Then baby farts and it’s right back to it.
Then baby takes her first step. Your heart melts.
Then you’re drawing pencil marks on the door frame, teaching her to swim, and singing songs.
Now, still, marriage, because Years later she’s tempted by drugs, kissing other startups, and saying she hates you.
Everyone ready for that? I’ve learned it’s not age that makes us all turn gray, it’s kids. It’s startups.
And you make it that far, together, and it’s full of joy, and love, and memories, and tears, and fights, and photos. And then you send your baby off into the world and hopefully she thrives.
Start with that end in mind because if you’re just seeking people to fill a role for you, you’re hiring a nanny or someone to mow the lawn so you can raise your kid. And they leave. They always leave. You need to fall in love with a partner ready to get puked on.