Dear SaaStr: What Should I Do if My Co-founder is a Complete Jerk?
It’s not going to work.
The issue isn’t so much that he’s a complete jerk. It’s that you think he is.
He’s thus clearly already driving you so nuts that you have a dysfunctional founder team.
This is usually unfixable. You may be wrong, he may be right, who knows. And in other cases, people are OK working with jerks. Sometimes I am OK with it, if their heart is in the right place and their role is constrained.
If all founders started off with 10-year vesting,
I suspect this would reduce and minimize like 50% of co-founder issues
* It forces you to have the tough conversation up front
* It protects the ones that stay from the ones that quit
* It better aligns expectations
— Jason ✨2022 SaaStr Annual Sep 13-15 ✨ Lemkin (@jasonlk) July 30, 2021
And if it doesn’t feel too far gone, bring in a neutral, calm third party you both respect or at least agree to. Bring in a work therapist. Usually, this doesn’t actually solve the underlying problem, but it often helps you work out a path forward, often with one of you transitioning out.
But once you look at your co-founder with contempt. Once you no longer believe. Once every time you see them, 10, 15, 20 times a day, you think … Complete Jerk.
It’s just a matter of time.
Assume one of you will be gone within 180 days.
Nuts image from here