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How do you find trustworthy people?

I have started shopping around for an excellent co-founder and, I am finding it a bit challenging. To be honest, it is a bit steeper than finding true love. Not to be ultra picky, but I would like to find people with whom I can build things, hard working people who would shoulder heavy loads, run a long distance and never lose hope, and, of course be practical about problems. I am not looking for martyrdom candidates, but a partner who would truly understand that it takes nine months of pain to give birth to a fantastic product. How could you find people like that in this network, especially if you are an immigrant and have not studied in the US?

22 Replies

Rob Gropper
2
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Rob Gropper Entrepreneur
Director at PetHero, SPC - Member at Eastside Incubator - Principal at Tuxedo Technologies Group
Trust comes with time. you need to spend time with people. Your gut instincts can usually weed out 80-90% although cultural differences make the job considerably harder - did someone not follow through because they didn't understand or because they are not passionate or because in their culture delivering something somewhere within 200% of the deadline is considered acceptable? Did someone just go along with all of your suggestions because they hate conflict or because they are not passionate or because their culture rewards compliance? It just takes time and numbers.
Mathieson Sterling
5
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Mathieson Sterling Entrepreneur
Senior Software Engineer at Apprenda
I heard a good, if blunt, take on this at a startup event from a successful serial entrepreneur. Basically, the problem is that you most likely don't have money or reputation - so what are you bringing to the table? If it's just an idea, they've likely got one too. If they aren't hesitant, is there a reason they're so willing to jump in?

I've found in my own experience it's much, much easier to get people to come aboard once there's something there already to show them, whether it's deck or prototype. The first sales of the product you make is to your co-founders - and it's always easier to sell something you can see.

Since you're a developer you have a great advantage over many others, since you can get a quick proof of concept up on your own.
Steven Ceracche
0
0
Steven Ceracche Entrepreneur
CEO of Truth Organica
For me it comes down to synergy it's theRe when your ready for it.
Timothy Clark
4
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Timothy Clark Entrepreneur
Owner - Radiant Heart Studios
Ali,
I understand your dilemma. It's difficult to know ahead of time the character of a potential partner. Like in romantic relationships, everyone puts on their best face at initial meetings. Also, we tend to see what we want to see - you don't want to start a relationship from a perspective of distrust.

After two years of looking for an equity partner, I have concluded that available dependable people are difficult to find. I've wasted way too much time with "partners" who seem enthusiastic and make all kinds of promises, but fail to deliver much of anything. Not having money to invest, I sought equity partners. I brought to the table a good idea, customer segment studies, potential revenue streams, wireframes, interactive mockups, an animated informational video, provisional patent, trademark, a good URL and dozens of other studies and documents. If you have the time, hear my saga:

I first partnered with an MBA who promised to develop the business plan, help with fundraising and team building. Because of his resume and enthusiasm I was willing to give equity equal to mine. After a year of getting absolutely nothing but empty promises and excuses, I terminated our relationship. The only thing concrete document he produced was a launch schedule that was out of date within a week. I became a beggar and whiner; too much like a needy lover.

During that year I also found a programmer who liked my idea and offered to build a prototype in exchange for equity. A year went by with no prototype. Communicating with him (as with the first partner) was like pulling teeth. I would send emails several times a week and it would be two or three weeks before I received a reply (that would be mostly promises of what they were planning to do).

After separating from both of those partners I started over - using Founder Dating contacts. Most FD members are looking for experienced partners (I am not) and it's been difficult even finding people willing to look at my 3 minute animated video. The few contacts who viewed my video and mockups had good things to say and offered much encouragement. A programmer contacted me, wanting to use my application idea for some hardware he was developing. He promised to build my prototype for his hardware and "many other devices," within 2 months. He said the programming would be simple to do and we planned to launch a kickstarter campaign as soon as we had a prototype... He was so enthusiastic and again I got my hopes up. From my side, I redid much of the mockup, incorporating functions unique to his hardware and worked on other uses for his hardware. Again, communicating with him was next to impossible; I had to trust that he was actually making progress. After 2 months I got a short text message (sent from his phone) saying -"Fund raising is a problem in this project. We need to have in the team a hustler capable to raise the $1 million+ we need to launch the hardware. Based on what I learned it will take at least one year before we can deliver." This was a far cry from, "This is simple, I'll have it ready in two months." My attempts to discuss the situation with him since then have failed.

Looking for a reason for my difficulties, I think Mathieson Sterling made an excellent point: Basically, the problem is that you most likely don't have money or reputation. Although I bring a lot to the table, I failed to understand initially that it's not enough to compensate for the lack of money or reputation. I'll keep refining my ideas and presenting them to potential partners and investors...... and I'll start learning programming.

Andy Halliday
2
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Andy Halliday Entrepreneur
COO LifeAID Beverage Co.
Ali, it's very hard to know what the behavior of seemingly stable and competent partners will be under pressure. In my history I can count a handful of steady partners who brought positive energy to the most trying circumstances. But anyone with history in ventures or life will have a trail of references, so be sure to ask the questions and talk to others who have worked in close quarters with a prospective partner. Does your idea have something to do with Local mobile? Andy Sent from my iPhone
Gaurav Garg
3
0
Gaurav Garg Entrepreneur
Vice President
100% agreed with all the posts in this thread.

I have formed two companies till date; both cashflow positive with decent pipeline. Ultimately, I walked out because I could not compromise on my core values. In hindsight, I was being stubborn as well.

Bottom-line, there is no shortcut to finding a good partner. Either you already like someone as a friend and you request them to join your business venture or you will need to invest time/energy to figure out who you will work together.

One way of figuring out if your relationship will work or not is to go to start-up weekend. Identify who you may want to work with first. It will force all parties to work under pressure. You will figure it out very quickly if you guys work well together or not :-)

I think, it is bit like marriage. Either you learn to ignore the wet towel on the floor and respect them for who they are or it does not work. I believe ideas and market change, people do not.

Best of luck!
Eshant Garg
1
0
Eshant Garg Entrepreneur
Software Engineer at QA Source India
Hello,

I am sailing in the same boat like you it seems. I joined FD today to find a potential partner who can contribute to make my idea a reality. I came across people who loved the idea and wanted to start with me. But sooner or later I some how find them less motivated, lazy and with a faded vision.

We can tolerate the behavioral differences but I believe your partner should be more or equally enthusiastic who is ready to put all just to make it work. This one common thing and a bit of honest understanding is enough to go a long way to success.

Cheers!
Chuck Kelly
3
1
Chuck Kelly Entrepreneur
Founder & Developer of Buhz.com | IOS + Android Developer & UI/UX Designer
I think your best bet is finding a circle of people interested in building cool stuff, nothing specific just yet , agreeing to brainstorm together on a small side project that everyone in the group is interested in and using that experience as a building block for future projects. If all goes well it will be easy to say "okay that went well, we should do this again with a slightly more ambitious project that we all take a bit more serious."
Peter s Chalkley
0
0
Peter s Chalkley Entrepreneur
VCQ Media Ltd - Greater London, United Kingdom. Public Relations and Communications Dating Platform

100% agreed with all the posts in this thread. Also agree with what GauravGarg said, I would if you, look forlocalcontacts even friends that could be part of the team and co-founder's - I build three company's that way and now on myfourthone. This time with out an active co-founder just a team AND MENTOR past co-founder as like most of you know it is hard to find a good co-founder. But find ways to bounce idea's off or work out what is a good idea or not from around you. I wish the Best of Luck in 2015 to all that read this - Do Look out for us "ONeFRIA" - Find: ONE TO LOVE. next year - Every one wins.

Ruth-Ellen Henry-Ovid MIoEE
1
0
Founder at XavieTime, the digital agency with a social impact mission
Ali I feel your pain. Great support from fellow founders. Connecting with people long before you need them is one tactic, one way to really find out about people's values and integrity is to ask the right questions. There is no one right answer I am afraid, but it's great you have set expectations this will minimise the frustrations. Check out this slideshare http://www.slideshare.net/GuyKawasaki/the-art-of-picking-a-cofounder-41878198 about the art of finding a co-founder I am yet to meet mine but this guide definitely weeds out people that are not suitable :) and has stopped me from getting frustrated (as much).
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