A few months ago we saw a team get issues with decision making. Both cofounders wanted to take the lead on everything, the most common reason why founding teams break up according to our data.
After some digging, we understood that this wasn’t just about decision making, it was an ego issue. Both wanted to be on the scene, on press release, company videos, in meetings… Their egos created a latent competition between the two and… they ended all collaboration, for the better.
What can we learn from this story and assess the ego matching part?
Entrepreneurship as an ego trip
Why do we start a company after all? We all have plenty of reasons but the main one is unconscious: fulfilling our ego because we think we’re worth more than our resume.
People launch a startup because they think they deserve more than what is actually offered to them. They believe their value is higher than their actual curriculum.Oussama Ammar
How to assess ego?
It’s important to understand what people think they’re really worth. When teaming up with someone, it’s essential to know what they needs are, what they seek in the partnership.
Here’s the main things entrepreneurs may seek
- Trying something new
- Solving an issue
- Becoming famous
- Being powerful/wealthy
- Fulfilling an insecurity by proving you can do it to yourself or others (family, friends…)
It’s usually a mix of these, but one is always more important than the others. If your cofounder and you both seek power, a power struggle is inevitable, as two people can’t both hold the power in a small team.
Try to understand your cofounders’ emotional reasons for building this company with you. Discussing this freely is key.
|I want to break the rules||Fame. Want to be known has the game changer|
|No one has to go through what I’ve been through||Accomplish values. Solving an issue they had|
|I will change the way we do things forever||Power. Want to act on something with force|
|And so on…|
Founders will tell you that all 3 are motivations. But when chatting with them, try to recognise patterns: what comes up more frequently than the rest?
One last thing before partnering up, apply this simple rule: if there is a doubt, there is no doubt, don’t do it.