One of the firsts topics I like to discuss with an entrepreneur when we meet for the first time is the association on his venture. People can sometimes be a bit surprised that I seem more interested in the relationship they have with their partners than the growth strategy they spent so much time elaborating. I love to ask them about the way they met, if they are friends or, at least, if they like to hangout. Have they ever worked together before, do they complete each other and how. And so on.
I don't deny I have a profound passion for relationships and the way people interact in general. But regarding co-founding, it's much more than that.
It's common knowledge that very few newly created companies are going to taste their two years' birthday cake. No revenue, no product-market fit or never being able to release the product. There are a lot of reasons that can explain the failure of a project. But from my experience those reasons often have at least one common denominator: a poor association.
While it's true that the success of your new company highly depends on its capacity to build revenue, you should keep in mind the impact that having someone rowing with you can have.
If you and your partners aren't rowing in a synchronized fashion and aiming for the same goal, at best you are going to tread water. At worst, you're probably going to engage in conflict and sink the ship.
On the other hand, if you carefully picked your partners for their skills and, above all, your ability to work together, then it can be a totally different story.
Once you all agree on the target you're aiming for and everyone's role, the group becomes a true team, ready to progress quickly on this agitated river called entrepreneurship.
These fellows you choose are going to be an important part of your life. You will spend a lot of time together discussing huge and often futile problems; short and long term strategies; and a lot of other topics, not always obviously connected to the company at first sight, but essential to maintaining the cohesion and the synchronization while the team is rowing.
I like to refer to my associate as my partner in crime; we built our first company together. I won't lie to you, there were rough times. We weren't always on the same wave-length. But we are complementary. We have shared values. And a vision. We are friends, and we cherish this relationship like our new company's success depends on it.
It doesn't mean you have to be friends with your associates, but do remember that when you find yourself doubting (and it will happen, a lot), they'll be in the best position to help, to push you forward and keep rowing.