Startup – Alex Blomberg of NPR Planet Money fame starts a company and in Season 1 details what it is like to do so. Season 2 is with a different company (I haven’t listened to that one) and they’re in the midst of a new mini Season 3 revisiting his company’s progress. A recent episode, The Secret Formula gives a listen under the hood of their process. It’s a fantastic reminder that an awesome creation was first a shitty first draft followed by a ton of labor.
Reply All – Often unusual stories about the Internet, and often also about unintended consequences. I’ve learned about the French telephone book product that was basically an early version of the Internet, the origins of popup ads, scary facts about the computer fraud abuse law, a discourse on racism in which the app Yik Yak figures prominently.
Magic Lessons – Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast that she released during the lead up to her book, Big Magic . In the first ten of 12 episodes she alternates from an episode in which she coaches someone on his/her creative challenge to an episode during which she talks with a friend about the previous week’s guest. The friends she speaks with include Cheryl Strayed, Rob Bell, Ann Patchett, Rayya Elias and John Hodgman. In episode 11 she circles back to the coachees and in the final episode she speaks with Brené Brown.
“A relationship with the right business partner can be just as meaningful — if not more so — than with a dating partner.” – Nellie Akalp, mashable.com
Right on point! The two points that resonated most with me here are 1. Find a cofounder who is willing and able to put in the same level of effort as you are; and 2. don’t let the excitement blind you to red flags.
I’ve seen founders thrown and disillusioned when they are putting their hearts and souls into a business while their cofounder is more stopping by to do some work. Of course you must take into account people’s economic realities: if she needs to keep her day job until you’ve got some level of funding, figure out if a full partnership is really viable. It may not be. And it may take a few months until it is. Go in with eyes wide open. Answer the questions raised in Alkap’s mashable piece.
And the red flags? Just like in dating… If something bugs you now (or is a niggling doubt), it will only grow. People are never better behaved than they are at the beginning of a relationship. N E V E R. Play the field a little. Have discussions with the successful co founders you know to see how they make it work.
As with all big decisions, best to dip your toe in before you dive.