25 Reasons to Fire Your Co-Founder (It Could Be You)

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?

  1. Stops contributing
  2. Does not show up for meetings
  3. Does not evangelize the business
  4. Does not sacrifice to make the business work
  5. Does not document any of his/her work
  6. Spends corporate dollars without review
  7. Hires people without agreement
  8. Fires people without discussion
  9. They go days without connecting to the rest of the team
  10. Puts themselves before the company
  11. Creates a caustic work environment
  12. They don’t trust anybody
  13. The company grows past their abilities
  14. They disagree on strategy . . . every day
  15. Their personality does not fit the rest of the team
  16. They lack leadership capability
  17. They cut corners to the detriment of the product
  18. They miss deadlines
  19. They refuse to change roles
  20. They lie
  21. They steal
  22. They are unable to attract capital
  23. They embarrass the company in public
  24. They disregard critical business tasks
  25. 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.

Speaker, investor, mentor, startup founder. One of 3 or 4 Co-Founders of MapQuest (sold to AOL for $1.2B). Managing Director of $25M Venture Fund in late 90's. CEO, COO or President of various companies ranging from $200k to $20M in size. One of two Managing Directors of The Startup Factory (35 investments across 7 cohorts), founder and MC of the Big Top Reverse Job Fair and national writer and speaker waxing poetic around startups and startup communities. Currently EIR @ Techstars with Brad Feld ~ Startup Communities, to help community leaders around the world grow their startup community.

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