Q. I am 27-years old who founded a startup. My goal is to find co-founders that are young and energetic. What are my chances with the right people? Is it all about hard work meets opportunity or something else?
27? Hmmm… a bit old for Silicon Valley! 🙂
> My goal is to find co-founders that are young and energetic.
No, you should look for co-founders who are highly-skilled and motivated. There are plenty of 18-year olds, but if they lack skills, motivation, etc., they’re useless.
- Connections. A great deal of success is based on solid connections to a wide range of people: engineers, marketing, sales, finance, legal, and investors, plus of course connections to other companies.
- Skills: Your competitors are the top-of-the-class people from Stanford, MIT, CalTech, IIT, Tsinghua, etc. who are extremely bright, skilled, and experienced. So you need solid skills in what you do.
- Work: You must dedicate at least ten hours per day for six days a week. I often work 14-hour days three or four times a week. The other days, I take it easy and work only 12 hours. But of course, I have a lot of experience in what I do, so it takes me a few hours what it would take another two weeks or more. So hours don’t matter: it’s the quality of the work. A good team of three or four can do more in a few weeks than a 200-person team at a large corp in six months.
- Social Skills: On top of all of this, you must motivate and lead your team. Keep them on track and moving towards the goal. Resolve personal problems within the team. Yes, I know, Steve Jobs was a total jerk yet became a billionaire. However, for every Steve, there are hundreds of other highly-skilled jerks who go nowhere. The best example is William Shockley, who got the Nobel Prize for inventing the transistor, but was such a screaming jerk that his entire team quit. They went on to start Fairchild, Intel, AMD, Kleiner-Perkins, and an astonishing 65 more companies. They created Silicon Valley and several trillion dollars in valuation. Shockley got zero, in fact, he died alone and ignored.