Avoiding the cofounder trap: The #1 thing that can help a startup is also the #1 thing that could destroy it

Cofounders are the #1 thing that can make your startup. Having a true partner means you will overcome a lot more than you might when doing it all alone. But cofounder conflict is also the #1 reason why startups fail! How do you overcome this trap? 

I cofounded Initialized with Alexis Ohanian, creator of Reddit. Cofounders need to spend time getting on the same page so that’s what we did in New York City this episode. 

My newest YouTube video: Meet Jake Klamka who made Insight Fellows, the world's next applied graduate school for data and engineering

Today we’ll meet with Jake Klamka of Insight Fellows program, a free fellowship that has brought together the world's best scientists and then helps them get to the top of their fields at the best tech firms in the world. This program started with just 8 fellows 8 years ago and has now grown to a program that graduates 1,000 alumni per year in 6 cities and 8 different disciplines— not just data science but data engineering, AI, DevOps, Health Data, Data Product Management, Crypto and Security fields too. This free fellowship is an incredible community of smart people who keep paying it forward, and along the way, cross-pollinate ideas and methods for new technical fields that didn’t even exist 10 years ago! It truly is a new type of highly applied post-doctorate graduate school.

Please like this video and subscribe to my channel if you want to see more videos like this!

How did Sid Viswanathan get started with Truepill? Watch my new YouTube channel

I’ve decided to take more time to help tell the stories of people who I admire, both within the Initialized community and the world of startups at large. This is my first stab at it. I shot and edited everything myself and know there are a thousand more things I need to get right next time. 

Of course if you liked this video and want to see more, please click the Like button which helps a lot on the YouTube algo.

Please subscribe to my channel at https://YouTube.com/garrytan and stay tuned! 

My resolution: Write more.

“The sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.” —Carl Jung

My one professional resolution for the year is to actually write more. The written word is the one way we can leave something behind - it’s a signpost for others, in distilled form. Edited. Reduced. Great writing lets you skip ahead, to absorb that which others had to learn the hard way. 

Two things kept me from writing more in the past years, and I figured the best way to unblock the blockers is to name them directly in my first post of the year. 

Vulnerability

Writing is about writing the truth, or at least the truth as you see it. These days it’s clear sharing that truth makes you incredibly vulnerable. 

“I, myself, have found that if I examine something, it’s less scary. We always had this theory that theory that if you kept a snake in your eye-line, the snake wasn’t going to bite you. That’s kind of the way I feel about confronting pain. I want to know where it is.” —Joan Didion

Vulnerability is about saying the things left unsaid. The loss. The mistakes. The tragedies. The unheralded wins. Let’s talk about the snake, because if we don’t, how are we ever going to keep people from being bitten? Let’s keep it in our eye line. 

Novelty

One counterintuitive truth I’ve found is that you sometimes find yourself writing the obvious. What is obvious to you, and your direct community, is often not what is obvious to the people out there. One thing I know I need to do is acknowledge that I am in a community of incredibly smart people, but I cannot begin to hope to write things that are that novel. I think it’s easy to fall into a trap where you think you have to be the Velvet Underground: the new vanguard. 

There is more to write than just that which will be impressive to the insiders. In fact, properly accessible writing may well involve a good amount of review for those insiders, and help place that which might be novel in the right context.

--

I’m looking forward to this year. Bring it on 2019. I will try to write my truth, and I welcome your advice, feedback, and hearty discussion in the months to come. 

I invite you to read my writing by following me on Twitter or clicking the Subscribe link below to join my Posthaven email list.