How to Tell if Your Cofounder is a Catastrophe Waiting to Happen

Posted by John Gray

There’s a body of anecdotal evidence suggesting there’s a direct correlation between entrepreneurial successes and solving a problem or challenge that one has lived first hand.

In some regards the same holds true for writing. Having experienced the good and bad cofounder experience first hand, I’m comfortable sharing the cautionary tale.

Starstruck first-timers, and fence-sitting “wantapreneurs” might want to take note. Those who’ve got some mileage on the treads, you’re welcome to say “been there, seen that."

The odds of succeeding as a solo entrepreneur are daunting, almost impossible. Having a cofounder or being part of a team of cofounders incrementally increases the odds of startup success.

I’m not writing this as a jaded, ax grinding commentary. In fact I’m keeping the names of the guilty out of this to protect my innocence.

This isn’t a definitive list, just a first taste of potential red flags—the warning signs to run, run away.

  • Exaggerating their own importance, achievements, and talents.
  • Imagining unrealistic fantasies of success, beauty, power, intelligence, or romance.
  • Lacking empathy and disregarding the feelings of others.
  • Being obsessed with oneself.
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John Gray

John Gray

John jumped into the startup world in early 2009, bringing his experience in business development and sales to companies creating new software products. He was co-founder and CEO of Mentionmapp, a visual analytics company that was acquired by OverInteractive Media in October 2011. Before that, he sold legal software and services (LexisNexis), medical devices (Auto Control Medical) and... more



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