Like when you’re playing poker, if you look around the table and don’t know who the mark is, it’s probably you.
It’s inevitable. At some point, either you or your co-founder will be fired. Most times it is for a good reason. Occasionally it is for the wrong reason. We all know the Steve Jobs story but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Every day a founding team member is relieved of their position.
Reflect about this for a minute. If you are thinking about this with your co-founder, chances are they are thinking about this about you! Why wouldn’t they? I have to fire you.
The following are a few of the most common reasons that one of you will want to fire the other. Is it your time?
- Stops contributing
- Does not show up for meetings
- Does not evangelize the business
- Does not sacrifice to make the business work
- Does not document any of his/her work
- Spends corporate dollars without review
- Hires people without agreement
- Fires people without discussion
- They go days without connecting to the rest of the team
- Puts themselves before the company
- Creates a caustic work environment
- They don’t trust anybody
- The company grows past their abilities
- They disagree on strategy . . . every day
- Their personality does not fit the rest of the team
- They lack leadership capability
- They cut corners to the detriment of the product
- They miss deadlines
- They refuse to change roles
- They lie
- They steal
- They are unable to attract capital
- They embarrass the company in public
- They disregard critical business tasks
- They have other priorities.
And a bonus reason that sinks most companies . . . They hate customers.
At The Startup Factory and our 35 investments in seed-stage companies, I have seen this played out many times. Don’t freak out, most companies go through a ton of changes during their ramp up and it’s expected that you will change as well. Suck it up–put your ego aside and decide what’s best for the company. That is the final arbiter of what to do next.