Cofounder’s Girlfriend

My co-founder constantly checks his phone for text messages from his girlfriend, even when discussing crucial issues, drafting important client emails, and during client meetings.

He also wants “work/life balance” by going on numerous dates and having hour long emotional phone calls with said girlfriend.

I have given up almost everything in life to try to make the company a success.  I expect my cofounder to show the same level of dedication.

Would it make me an asshole to let my cofounder know my expectation?

  • Maybe stop focusing on your cofounder’s social life and instead focus on your own. You shouldn’t sacrifice happiness to start up a company.

    • Maybe you should stop giving bad and incompetent advice to others.

      Dont u see that op focuses on business and his cofounder isn’t? Op seems like a responsible guy and of course its his duty to care about the business! Which does include checking if everyone is focused.

      Starting a company is time consuming and requires sacrifices, being focused most of the time should be standard to every job! It’s not a game and it doesn’t always have to be fun.

      If you look for personal happiness and running a company doesn’t make u happy then for gods sake don’t start a company!

      • Looks like you’re the one giving bad advice. There are MANY reasons to start a company, and some of them don’t really require sacrifice if they’re lifestyle businesses. Sure, regular Silicon Valley tech companies that aim to be unicorns probably do require crazy sacrifices but thats for the team to decide.

        I think the big problem here is the co-founders never sat down and talk about expectations BEFORE starting the venture. There is absolutely nothing wrong to have a venture with the goal of having a balanced life.

        • Nah, I think you both are giving sort of half truths. First off, work time is not meant for personal time. As an employee, he would have been fired. However, I do think he has decided that he doesn’t want to sacrifice his relationships. That’s fine, unless it is interfering with the business he is supposed to be helping start. I am all for shutting down at 7pm, so he can be with his apparently needy girlfriend (I say that because people who have jobs don’t text and stuff all day, but when they don’t have one, they think the other person should be at the beck and call).

          The thing is, work time is for just that. As an employee, he would be committing theft. Plus, if his head’s not in the game, then maybe he needs to own up to that, so that the people who are doing the work can get on with it.

  • Set professional boundaries, aka basic office hygiene. Checking calls in client or internal meetings is a no-no in any organisation. But if he wants to go on dates after work, why not. As long as his responsibilities are delivered on time.

  • What people do in the smaller scenarios are what they’re going to be doing in the bigger scenarios— i.e. pitching investors. Your call.We’re not feeling this discomfort-you are !

  • Just tell him your expectations. It’s your company. I would be pissed off to if I’m working hard and my co-founder is texting his girlfriend during an important meeting.

  • I feel a bit… surprised that work/life balance is seen as a bad thing… it is probably the most important to not burn out in a few months. SV culture is really fucked up

  • This is just my opinion, for a startup, if there is no possible way to advance the biz further for that day, as in, it’s no way to make calls and brains are fried that is when life kicks in.

    So by going with that logic, if you are in a meeting and he’s texting his girlfriend, he’s burning valuable time. Time is money.

    Your time is just as valuable as an investors time as you are a key investor in the company. Would he text his girlfriend while the money guy is in the room? If so, he’s in the honeymoon phase of his relationship and this will pass soon. If not, tell him your office hours are from 9 to 5 and he should be focused on the business at that time.

    Personally, I’m a romantic and single so it’s easy for me to say this. Because I know this about myself, I’m single because I’d rather succeed in my business as I’ve given up too much already to be where I am and unless I meet someone that makes me see God, farts skittles AND is able to guarantee my business succeeds while I have the lifestyle I want to live —> business first!

    Yesterday, a contractor I work with had to leave because of a date. We were in a meeting where things had to get flushed and final for the day. When he said he had a date at 7 and had to leave to shower, etc… I was happy for him. If it were my cofounder, I probably would have said, “Today isn’t Friday and you seriously planned a date when we have all this work to do?”

    Or, I would really help him achieve his work life balance by switching our hours to 3am to 12pm and having a no phone policy during those hours. This way, a bulk of his morning will be concentrated on work. In the afternoon you can focus on business calls and visits. That way, he will have all afternoon to text his girlfriend and all evening to spend with her. That is truly what work life balance would look like if it existed.

    Good luck!

  • Just let him know your expectations are to have everyone work like a 1st year investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs or Morgan Stanley.

    Maybe even memorialize that in your bylaws and equity vesting agreements?

  • Eh, wait until he finds “a solution” to all this.

    I know the CEO who didn’t know how to juggle work-life balance so in the end he decided to employ his girlfriend of no biz knowledge to our company. The girl started to torture/spy people around, and nobody could do anything about it. He went so far so he pushed for another useless guy to be her immediate boss so nobody could say there was a conflict of interest. She has now more influence than anyone else, so people started to use her to get things done quicker with him. Pillow talk work, you know. So if you are not on good terms with her, not much life left at the company you have. We joked about she was the real CEO, not him.

    She got all the money for all the projects she wanted to do, she was heard on every meeting, she brought her close friends to work there too. Yes close friends of her same background – circus artist! :-O

    Sick to the bones, sad for the business!

    So yeah, be happy… it could be worse bro!

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