I think the biggest trouble for startup is the power struggle between co-founders. Have seen a startup fail before due to this. That’s why I run a one man show – employees, not co-founders.


  • While its always better to do things alone, it even better to do them with your partner in crime. Actions and ideas multiply. Awesome things happen. But one must not forget all the shit that comes along with the partner in crime. You need to know if that shit is worth smelling while you make your way to the roses. 🙂

  • If cofounders are having a power struggle you’ve got the wrong cofounders. This isn’t about going it alone. It’s about improving your ability to pick a partner.

  • Oh yeah…I witnessed a battle between co-founders on strategy …CEO and CTO, where sadly CEO didn’t give a shit what CTO wanted and constantly manipulated poor geek.

    It was painful to be employee there. CEO even accused some of us that we poisoned CTO against him. He simply couldn’t believe that CTO did think with his own head.

    Circus company that was…

  • A one man show with one CEO and only employees is not a safe company. When all your C-suite and VPs are employees, they may realize one day they can get rid of mister CEO and found together their own company, and leave CEO alone and naked. It can happen really quickly with talented people. Having founders at key positions limits dramatically this risk.

  • I found having a business partner invaluable as a sounding board and a balance to my strong personality. I couldn’t have started our business without him and he saved me from myself many many times. I can’t imagine that I would have respected his opinions enough had he merely been an employee.

    You can always protect your interests by having more ownership and by controlling the board.

  • Working with people is generally difficult, regardless of how much absolute power your peers have.

    I’ve seen a heavily funded startup depend almost entirely on use of absolute power. They’ve burned through millions of dollars in funding to build a product because of it. Rather than develop relationships and understand, they fire.

  • Disagree – valid points are made here on the issue but like a rock band – collaboration brings out the best ideas and execution of them. The healthy raging, converging debate between CEO, CTO, other founders is what moves a start up from good to great – and you’ve got to make that move quickly to succeed in a start up.

    If there is unhealthy friction – well your band should ‘disband’ before you startup !

  • This is a story of my life.

    I actually disagree with most of the comments here. I have tried to create and work in teams, just because some of the best-known folks in the industry such as Paul Graham have said that you should have cofounders. However, my experience shows that they don’t necessarily need to be cofounders.

    The important aspect is to work in a team. Each person in the team needs to bring a lot of value to the table. Additionally, they need to be interested in making the company successful. Each team member gets motivated in a very different way, and we need to do whatever it takes to motivate them. From my experience, working with developers in India, they get motivated by cash payments. So, you can hire the best talent if you’re willing to pay the most cash. Needless to say, this does not work in Silicon Valley. In Silicon Valley, people like to get CEO/CTO titles, which is irrelevant and has no correlation in the value they bring to the company.

    So, you need to work in a team, however, the title of the team members to matter. They need to as far as they are bringing a lot of value to the table, I think it’s all okay. The title of the race team members does not really matter.

    I have seen the best organizations been created by one single person, but they allow additional people to contribute to the company. In fact, I think the best work can be done by one single person alone in silence.

  • I think that the one man show mentality (even with a team of employees or a team of co-founders) rarely create a successful start-up (I mean Start-up not a Lifestyle business) and mostly the main reason behind struggle between co-founders is that one of them acting as if he is the only founder.

    If you “or your co-founders” can’t see the value of partnership and what your co-founders are actually added to your skills in order to build a successful start-up then running a one man show business is your way to go.

  • Co-founders fighting is definitely a problem, but so is a control freak one man show which has lost touch with reality.

    Plus it really helps to have someone not on the same bio-rhythm as you – it means they hopefully will be feeling up when you’re having a bad day/week/month and will cheer you up, and vice versa

  • Some people think you absolutely have to have a partner and some think the exact opposite. It is all about YOUR personality type, not everyone else’s.

    If you are introverted/keep to yourself, and generally hate communicating your thoughts in hopes of agreement, stick to the one-man show. However, if you are the type of person that hates being by themselves and has to run-through ideas with someone else for solidification, then find a co-founder.

    I would recommend finding more than one as well, the arguments would become proportionate to the number of founders and so you could instate a voting policy where the majority vote decides on whatever.

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