How To Find a Co Founder in 24 hours

by Ashok Nayar

It’s unbelievably tough to find the right co founder.  There are so many variables to consider, the truth is that most teams are often doomed before they begin.  Some do try to address these variables.  Finding someone who has executed in the past seems to be the first metric, quickly followed by a brief, yet often failed, test of team chemistry, and then off to the races.  Understanding one’s propensity for risk, determination, potential for friendship and the ability to actually execute all come into this equation.  But with the market moving so fast, and large companies iterating so rapidly, how do you address these metrics fast enough so you can begin building and developing customers? How do you know the guy you’ve picked can build fast enough?  Or that the non technical developer can design well enough, or network well enough? Build.  Not your original idea.  But something (relatively) small, something that can be done in a weekend.  Something that forces you to stay awake for 30 straight hours coding and reiterating at a pace faster than anyone would expect of you.  Something that you’re proud of.  Something that allows you to say, “we’re proud of it”.

I met Travis on techcofounder.com.  Arguably not the best way to begin a company.  Sure these co founder networking websites seem to be solving some arguable gap in the market, but they’re generally not the best place to meet talent.  That being said, Travis sent me an email after I heavily pitched him and we met for a coffee.  We brainstormed my idea, spoke about the customer development I had done, spoke about his projects, had a few laughs and decided to meet later that week for drinks.  Last Thursday we met for drinks and had a fantastic idea to give each other a measurable guage of the other.  We felt we could work well together but we really had no way of saying that was true.  So why not build something?  Inspired in part by the Startup Bus, we set out to build an MVP in 24 hours.  But not just any small web application.  An application that wouldn’t even be considered an MVP because of the pace and depth we forced ourselves to build at.  We built http://thestyli.st.

It wasn’t easy.  Between the twelve pack of Cola, the pizzas, the hours, the unseasonal warm weather in NYC that we had to avoid, the sleep we lost, the St Patty’s drinks we missed, and the overall zombie like nature we found ourselves in the next day, it was definitely not easy.  But out of all of it, we learned something.  Not just about the other person.  Not just that the other person could execute, and was excited to build.  And that it was fun to build with them.  But we learned something about ourselves.  That we could do it if we wanted to.  That with enough self determination and grinding, you can build an awesome, beautiful web application in 24 hours.  Most people can’t say that, and now, as a team, we can.

It’s been the most fruitful 24 hours for me in this search to find a co founder.  Wasteful are the hours you spend going to co founder networking events.  Wasteful are the hours you spend sending hundreds of emails to friends asking them to find someone for you.  The truth is things are only going to get more difficult.  Finding the right co founder gets you most of the way in truth, but there are far more things to figure out in building a great company.  But finding someone is the first and most important step.  Pick someone, try and build and move on if it doesn’t work.  It’s a simple, albeit tiring, filtering mechanism in building a team that I think more people should adopt.  It worked for us.

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