Mr. Lazerow, whose business partner is his wife Kass, claims that many cofounder relationships resemble marriages, and therefore you should vet cofounders much the way you would a potential mate. So basically, don’t found a company with someone who is emotionally unavailable or unhealthily obsessed with his mother? Good to know.
In his post, Mr. Lazerow quotes Y Combinator founder Paul Graham’s widely-read story about cofounder relationships resembling marriages:
My relationship with my cofounder went from just being friends to seeing each other all the time, fretting over the finances and cleaning up shit. And the startup was our baby. I summed it up once like this: “It’s like we’re married, but we’re not fucking.”
Except that for in Mr. Lazerow’s case, he is fucking his cofounder, and apparently wants everyone to know about it.
Mr. Lazerow points out that when he was originally looking for funding for his startups, many investors told him that they didn’t invest in husband and wife teams. That’s an understandable rule of thumb, as cofounder relationships are notoriously messy, and in truth, not all husband-wife duos fare as well as the Lazerows.
Six Apart founders Ben and Mena Trott are still going strong, as are Babble Media founder Rufus Griscom and his wife Alisa Volkman, who is Babble’s VP of sales and strategy. But Flickr cofounders Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield lasted nine years before filing for divorce in 2010.
And as one female entrepreneur named Grace Ng pointed out last year, the “cofounder relationships are like marriages” comparison is very convenient for men, but not necessarily so for women. “This [comparison] creates a rather challenging situation for female entrepreneurs seeking a technical cofounder, most of who are male,” wrote Ms. Ng. She then went on to describe a horror story where a technical cofounder she hired admitted he was in love with her; when Ms. Ng answered that the feeling wasn’t mutual, he refused to do any work unless she entered into a relationship with him. Classy.
We agree with Mr. Lazerow that you should “start your business with someone you truly love,” but though many cofounder relationships are like marriages, actually being married to your cofounder isn’t always in your startup’s best interest.
We appreciate the candor, Mr. Lazerow, though you may want to take the advice of one Business Insider commenter and “get a room.”