Friends fight. Siblings fight. Couples fight. Co-founders fight. We all do. That’s human nature. There’s no point in denying it. It would be abnormal if passionate startup co-founders who breathe their venture and are building it together, didn’t fight!!
So what usually happens when you disagree on a topic? Do you argue? Do you sulk? Stop talking to each other? Make voodoo dolls of the other person?! Does one of you always bully his/her way? Does the other just give in to avoid conflict? Or do you both fight it out and are able to come to a sane conclusion after letting out some steam?
“Co-founder Conflict” (as the jargon goes), if not addressed in a democratic, natural way, can sometimes lead to the slow death of a venture. To prevent unwanted anger and grudges from building up, it’s always healthier to keep the communication channels open at all times. Say what you have to say. Keep an open mind about the other person’s perspective and give a patient hearing to him/her. And always try to figure out how to do what’s best for the startup.
But what’s more important is how you nurture this special relationship! After all, your co-founder is your work spouse, and you need to get along! So after your disagreement, how do you “kiss & make up”…?! Who is the mature one? Who breaks the ice (or cold war)? Who says, “hey, let’s grab a beer”?
I pinged a few Rodinhooders to find out what happens when they disagree and how do they make up?! Sharing their stories and hoping more of you will comment and tell us what happens when you guys and gals get into dhishum dhishum mode!!
Be sure to just comment below – the best stories will get added to the main post!
[Ps: I shall add some concluding points in the end after hearing from more Rodinhooders. I don’t want to generalise, but will pick up some key things that work best for most folks. Food/Drink seem to be one way to cool down!!!]
Sharad Singh & Vivek Singal [Valuefy]
“Vivek and I have known each other for 11 years now. We worked at Fractal from where we set off for our entrepreneurial journey together.
Valuefy is our second start-up. (Invezta.com is our product)
We have different skill sets and ways of thinking that makes it beneficial for the company, though it also means that we are in disagreement at times. Vivek is so damn intelligent that if he doesn’t want you to win and argument, you won’t. But at the same time, he is generous to let you win too.
Thanks to the time we have spent together, we understand each other well now and know when, who will crack 🙂
Our experience of having disagreements helps in continuing the discussion. We argue face-to-face, over phone, in flight and even while travelling abroad. However, we are able to gauge if the conversation is getting heated and we should take a break.
We know that both of us think in the best interest of the organization and that’s what allows us to come back soon and try to understand the other person’s point of view. We allow each other to seem unreasonable to the other party, so that there isn’t a blockage for ideas.
Typically when we take a break from a heated argument we’ll go to our desks to complete a few pending tasks and one of us comes back to other in a few minutes and says, “Chal… chai peekar aate hain…”.
That’s the make-up line. We know it.
Then we keep walking around the tea stall for an hour, sort it out and come back like nothing happened… ; )
In cases where we still can’t agree, Vivek puts forward his point and lets me take the final call and from there we go.
Ultimately, we know we are fighting for each other.”
Tanul Mishra & Shipra Bhansali [Co-founders, Eatelish]
“When two people in a relationship feel strongly and passionately about something, emotions run deep and it energizes things and it can also lead to arguments. That’s how a Co-Founder relationship works too.
Shipra and I have what we like to call complimentary skill sets and our strengths are different too. While she is creative, I am the number person but at end we want the same thing – a successful, profit making, value creating business. We have had our share of arguments and disagreements on how to approach something, we listen to the other even if we won’t like what they’re saying, we give it a fair hearing.
We both have different ways in which we react during an argument (Shipra will usually take much longer to lose it while I tend to go into a “Your honor, here are my really valid reasons” mode fairly quickly!). We talk, disagree and when we see things are getting out of hand we take a short break, head to Suzette and get a cup of hot chocolate. There’s nothing that you can’t sort over a cup of hot chocolate!”
“For Pavneet and me only one thing has worked till now… we stop talking to each other for some time. The time period is not defined though. Most of the times it takes around 2 days, but once it went on for more than a week. This was the case when we were living in the same apartment (as part of the Startup Chile program – both of us were in Santiago for 7 months). Living in the same apartment means that you both see each other 24×7 and interfere in each other’s personal lives as well. Once we started living in different apartments, our productivity increased a lot. Our fights decreased a lot. And the reconciliation time decreased to 1 day.
ps: We still fight over designations 😛 “
[Arjun is CTO, Pavneet is CEO] @arjun_tuli @pavtiwana
If you are a single founder – then please answer some of the questions I asked here in ‘What’s it like to be a single founder?’