Found in 9 comments
Kinnard · 2018-10-05 · Original thread
Read the Founder's Dilemma[1].

Don't "look for a cofounder".

Collaborate with friends and loose connections on projects ("date") and escalate from there. (Don't undershoot "loose".)

You need to be friends[2].

Get hitched when you're sure.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Founders-Dilemmas-Anticipating-Founda...

[2] http://www.paulgraham.com/really.html

Kinnard · 2016-05-18 · Original thread
Probably to find your first user. Get feedback from them on your prototype. Startups aren't fungible so more info on your startup would help. Additionally there is a wealth of resources on the Internet: some of my favorites:

How to Start a Startup: startupclass.samaltman.com Watch the whole series, or you might regret it

Lean Startup: http://theleanstartup.com/ Get this book. If you're not a reader become one. Don't skim it; read it.

Founder's Dillemma: http://www.amazon.com/Founders-Dilemmas-Anticipating-Foundat... Read the whole book before you go get married to a cofounder

mattty · 2015-10-13 · Original thread
If you find this interesting, Wasserman expanded his thesis into a book[0], an academic study of startups. Highly recommended.

[0]: http://www.amazon.com/The-Founders-Dilemmas-Anticipating-Ent...

pshin45 · 2014-08-20 · Original thread
A good read for those interested in this topic i.e. the pros and cons of finding a co-worker through something like "founder dating" VS. with friends/relatives VS. with coworkers is "The Founder's Dilemmas"[1] by Noah Wasserman.

If you'd just like a preview/synopsis of the book, there's a podcast[2] of the author's talk at Stanford, which covers all the broad strokes and key points.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/The-Founders-Dilemmas-Anticipating-Ent...

[2] http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=3024

mindcrime · 2013-12-14 · Original thread
That's a lot of questions, and most of the answers are "it depends", or there's more than one right answer.

I'd suggest you consider reading The Art of the Start[1] by Guy Kawasaki, The Four Steps To The Epiphany[2] by Steve Blank, and High Tech Startup[3] by John Nesheim. Between those, they cover a big chunk of the basic stuff you need to know.

The Founder's Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup[4] also has a good reputation, but I haven't had time to read it yet, so I can't give a personal endorsement. But it sounds like it might be worthwhile.

FWIW, though, I can tell you what we did at Fogbeam[5]: The company is organized as a legal entity, but we are an LLC right now, not a Corporation. I would not necessarily recommend doing that to anybody else though... while it is possible to build a big company as an LLC, practically speaking, if the intent is to build a scalable startup, the kind that's going to seek VC money and that you ultimately hope to IPO, you need to be a corporation. VC's essentially will never invest in an LLC (there are technical reasons why) and LLC's have serious limits if you need more than a hundred or so "shareholders" (I forget the exact number, but it's a pretty small number). The reason we are an LLC is a historical coincidence, rooted in weird shit that happened back when I was planning to start a consulting company, before deciding to do a product. Fortunately the prevailing wisdom is that it's fairly straightforward to convert from an LLC to a C Corporation. When they day comes that we need to do it, we'll switch.

As far as equity distribution, we have been operating on a handshake agreement between the founders. Technically speaking, I own 100% of the company "on paper" since I'm the only Member listed in the LLC operating papers. But that is, again, only a historical legacy. I created the company and worked alone for the first year before inviting the first co-founder onboard. It would be easy enough to amend the papers to update the equity split, but we've basically taken the approach that "well do that when we convert to a C corp, or there's a specific need to" (like, if we get an acquisition offer). So, yeah, we are operating on trust at the moment. A lot of people will recommend against doing that sort of thing for various reasons (see: The Social Network for example), and I have known friends who got screwed by co-founder disputes because things weren't put into writing up-front. If I had to advise somebody, I'd probably advise you to decide on the equity splits, intellectual property assignments, etc. up-front, and formalize everything from the beginning just to be on the safe side. The downside to that is, it costs a little bit of money and time. shrug

As for YC... nothing against them, but I'd never make a decision based on "what YC wants". But I look at all accelerators / incubators / etc. as "something that might be nice to do, but we'll succeed with or without them." Being that we are an East Coast startup with constraints that would limit out ability to move to CA in order to do YC, we've never even applied and probably never will. If doing YC is super important to you, then maybe you should treat this a bit differently. It's up to you.

Design document? Meh... I mean, yeah, but no. Not exactly. You need to know something about what you're building, but as a rule, you probably won't know exactly what you really need to build to achieve "product / market fit"[6] right away. So no sense spending months on an elaborate BDUF design doc. Sketch out the high level design, and IF you wind up subcontracting any work, then you'll have to formalize a spec for the contractor. But don't spend months and months designing something nobody wants. "Get out of the building" as they say, talk to customers, and iterate the design as you learn what people want/need.

[1]: http://www.amazon.com/Art-Start-Time-Tested-Battle-Hardened-...

[2]: http://www.amazon.com/Four-Steps-Epiphany-Steve-Blank/dp/098...

[3]: http://www.amazon.com/High-Tech-Start-Revised-Updated/dp/068...

[4]: http://www.amazon.com/The-Founders-Dilemmas-Anticipating-Ent...

[5]: http://www.fogbeam.com

[6]: http://www.stanford.edu/class/ee204/ProductMarketFit.html

jason_wang · 2013-07-03 · Original thread
Great post. It's not often you see founders share how they arrived at their equity split.

I highly recommend The Founder's Dilemmas by Noam Wasserman (http://www.amazon.com/The-Founders-Dilemmas-Anticipating-Ent...). The book is very data driven. Noam uses the data he collected over the last 10 years to backup the different scenarios he discusses. Chapter 6 talks about equity split and Noam talks about the difference between 50/50 hand-shake splits, 50/50 designed splits, 51/49 splits, and other splitting scenarios. I got the audiobook and it's an easy listen/read over the weekend. For me, this is not just a "one man's opinion" book. Its data driven nature makes it a must read.

Other parts of the book talks about different co-founder options (family, friends, co-workers, life partners), role divisions and funding choices.

bsims · 2012-11-18 · Original thread
Everyone commenting on this thread should read Founder's Dilemma to at least give some statistical information about success rates of founding teams.

http://www.amazon.com/Founders-Dilemmas-Anticipating-Foundat...

Regardless of one's opinion of solo vs team, statistically it is easier with co-founders. That doesn't mean it can't be done solo, but you have better odds. And YC makes investments so why wouldn't you play the odds?

bsims · 2012-10-30 · Original thread
It is fairly common to have vesting schedules as someone earns equity of usually 3 to 4 years. So if for example you were giving up 10% total on a 4 year vesting schedule, each year would earn 2.5% of the 10%. Some of these can also be met with milestones.

I think your approach of bringing him on slowly makes sense from what you wrote. I recommend reading "The Founder's Dilemma," before finalizing any of your actions.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Founders-Dilemmas-Anticipating-Ent...

loumf · 2012-10-26 · Original thread
If you are interested in a take on this topic that is based on data, check out Noam Wasserman at BoS 2009 (his talk at BoS 2012 was very similar)

http://businessofsoftware.org/2009/05/professor-noam-wasserm...

He has been collecting data on start-ups and then looking at survival lengths and outcomes. He wrote a book on the topic

http://www.amazon.com/Founders-Dilemmas-Anticipating-Foundat...

View this Book on Amazon