Too often I see young companies begin with a group of people who, while having similar values, also have similar skills.
This makes sense. You start companies with your friends/acquaintances, and, axiomatically, these people tend to share your values. This is good.
What’s not so good is that too often these same friends share your skill set.
Just like a band wouldn’t come together with multiple bass players – even if all the bass players share the same values with respect to music – companies shouldn’t form when there are redundant skill sets amongst the partners.
This tends to be made visible when you talk to a startup about who, for instance, will be handling development. They will tell you that so-and-so is the “marketing person,” and so-and-so is the “sales” person, etc. While I’m frequently skeptical about what qualifies so-and-so to do his/her job (and what the difference is between, for instance, “marketing” and “sales”), what almost always is lacking when it comes to roles being filled is the development/tech role. Typically, this is “answered” with “we’ll hire someone/outsource it.”
Good luck with that.
Ever wonder why so many successful companies have as one of their partners a “coder?” Put another way, “Ever wonder why so many coders are original partners of successful companies?”
See where I’m going?
In any case, when considering whom to partner with make certain that your values overlap, but that your skills compliment each other, and are not redundant.
In other words, make sure that you think each of your partners are doing “The Hard Stuff.”