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Summary:

_We’ve posted a few pieces addressing the “challenges of picking your co-founder(s)”:http://gigaom.com/2007/05/17/dangers-of-a-threesome/. Other posts have taken a stab at the best methods for finding a partner — can founders be “matched”:http://gigaom.com/view/question-of-the-day16 to one another? Below is a crib sheet with *tips for what to look for*, […]

_We’ve posted a few pieces addressing the “challenges of picking your co-founder(s)”:http://gigaom.com/2007/05/17/dangers-of-a-threesome/. Other posts have taken a stab at the best methods for finding a partner — can founders be “matched”:http://gigaom.com/view/question-of-the-day16 to one another? Below is a crib sheet with *tips for what to look for*, as well as *what to avoid*, when selecting a co-founder, as told to us by one of Found|READ’s flagship contributors, Xavier Casanova. They are based on his own experiences._

*What are the FIVE MOST IMPORTANT QUALITIES in a co-founder?*

For me the *top two* requirements are: *(1) exceptional intelligence* and*(2) extreme motivation.* Founders cannot build any company for the long term unless they all possess these two qualities.

Three *less conventional* requirements might be: *(3) belief*: that special little spark in any co-founder’s eye that tells you they believe in what they’re doing. *(4) integrity*, because without this trust cannot be built between two founders, or the founders and their future team. *(5) dedication* you need a co-founder who will _always_ have the business foremost in mind.

*THINGS TO AVOID from my school of hard knocks!:*

*Take your time.* If you don’t have a co-founder, and you need one, exercise patience. This will help you make the right choice.
*Stay away from big egos.* Pay attention to the use of pronouns like “I” where it seems “we” or “the company” might be more appropriate.
*Avoid people with independent agendas*, which can create “impossible long term fits.” For example, if Joe Co-founder wants to go to business school, Joe is probably not a good choice.

By xavier

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  1. I thought the advice given by Andrew Frame in a recent podcast was awesome http://www.stanford.edu/group/edcorner/uploads/podcast/frame070516.mp3

    He speaks on hiring those early executives, and says to design a team that scales you have to find people who have worked in big companies, and small, have had big successes and big failures… his reasons why illuminating. Worth a listen (the whole series is. it’s pretty awesome, if you don’t know it.)}

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  2. Another couple of lessons learnt:
    * Life changes: if one of the co-founders decides to change from working part-time to full time on the project, and the other doesn’t it leads to conflict.
    * Business strategy: decide on when you want to launch. No enhancements until the first customer signs, and not get into the loop of enhancing product everytime a prospect gives you any feedback…
    * Strengths: if co-founder has a set of skills in say operations for the last decade, its unlikely for him/her to appreciate marketing or sales (not just generically, but the process and tactics). Careful when you assign responsibility… ensure they align with the co-founder’s and your strengths.

    Remember – time’s ticking!}

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