On cofounders

One of the most common pieces of advice that startup founders receive is to work with a cofounder that they trust.

When Air Force pilots are assigned to a plane, they need to spend hours training together before they are granted Mission Ready status. This is partly so they can learn their tools, but it’s mostly so they get to know each other. Modern planes are filled with complicated instruments that give off important signals: altitude, pitch, airspeed — the list goes on. It’s unrealistic for one person to monitor everything at once, so fighter pilots need to work together as a unit. Veterans will tell you that they start to develop a shorthand with their copilots. Full sentences become unnecessary. You just need to give your partner an indication of what you’re thinking and they will fill in the gaps.

Businesses are like this too. Having a cofounder helps you split the duties while keeping a complete understanding of the mission. If you don’t develop ways to communicate effectively, this system breaks down.

Finding the right co-founder is consistently listed as the most important factor in the success of a project. Even more so than idea, skill, or market.

Any creative process will have low moments. Times when you’re not sure if the idea is worth pursuing, or when you doubt your own abilities. Having a cofounder helps make these moments bearable. It’s not just good business — it’s necessary to make sure that you stay sane.