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Entrepreneur Office Hours - Issue #104
How to schedule a meeting with anyone
I love this issue’s featured article. In fact, I’m so excited, I don’t want to waste your time with semi-witty, intro banter. Instead, let’s get right to the article because I’m going to teach you the secret strategy I developed for getting meetings with anyone… investors, customers, partners… whomever.
Maybe you can even use it to get a meeting with me! 😉
Entrepreneurs need to convince lots of people to meet with them, and this email hack made it ridiculously easy.
People have gotten so good at interviewing for jobs that, when I was hiring for my startup, I had trouble telling the difference between high quality applicants and someone who was just really good at interviewing. In case you’re struggling with the same problem, here’s an easy trick I developed to help screen candidates.
Office Hours Q&A
I wanted to share a strategy with you and get your opinion.
What are your thoughts on having co-founders with an exactly equal equity split (meaning 50/50) versus intentionally making sure one co-founder has at least slightly more ownership than the other in order to have someone who can officially make final decisions?
My first startup was 50/50 between me and my co-founder, and when we disagreed, it could be very hard to make a decision because we were both equal partners and neither of us could overrule the other. I think this eventually prevented us from moving quick enough, and the company had to shut down.
In comparison, my current co-founder and I have split the equity 49/51, and he actually controls the larger share. We’re still only about a year into our work and so it’s early, but, even though I’m the person with slightly less equity, having a clear majority decision maker has seemed to really help us function better as a team.
As I said, I just wanted to share this strategy with you in case it’s useful to you and your readers and also hear what you think about it.
Back when I was building companies, my co-founder and I always began with an equal 50/50 split. And I agree that, technically, it meant neither of us could overrule the other. However, in practice, that was never an issue.
To be fair, earlier in our entrepreneurial journey, when we disagreed we would fight tooth and nail to be right, and our arguments went on a lot longer than they shold have. But the problem wasn’t that we were equal owners in our company. The problem was that we were both stubborn and prideful and always believed we were right.
To me, the best way to solve the problem of co-founders having an equal equity split and, as a result, equal decision making authority is to learn how to communicate effectively with each other by learning how to listen, learning how to argue, and, perhaps most importantly, learning how to be wrong.
I’m not sure trying to resolve the issue by simply giving one co-founder the ability to overrule the other co-founder is in anyone’s best interest. It seems like it would ultimately just make the co-founder with “less authority” bitter when the person with “more authority” gets into a habit of not listening and just doing whatever they want. In your case, it sounds like this is working well for you, which is great, but I wonder how much of that success is coincidence.
Perhaps you and your first co-founder just weren’t good partners, and you and your second co-founder are better suited to work with each other. That’s certainly OK. In fact, it happens all the time. So, while I certainly see the logic of your strategy, I’d be hesitant to ascribe the success of your current partnership to the equity split. I suspect the relationship between you and your co-founder is a much bigger factor than any specific amount of ownership.
Got startup questions of your own? Reply to this email with whatever you want to know, and I’ll do my best to answer!