The 9 Warning Signs You Have The Wrong Co-Founder?

brett fox
6 min readJan 16, 2023

If there’s one thing I am an expert in, it’s bad co-founders. After all, the first two teams of co-founders I tried to start my company with didn’t work out.

Picture: Depositphotos

There were “Jim” and “John”, my first two co-founders. We worked together for about five months before they quit, stole the company’s IP, and then started a competing company.

There were “Julius” and “Doogie”, Jim and John’s replacements. They didn’t work out either.

It wasn’t until my third team of co-founders that I hit the jackpot. Even then, two of my four co-founders didn’t make it through one year.

So, you can see I have my bone-fides down when it comes to failed co-founder relationships. I know the warning signs when things aren’t going to work out. Let’s go through them. By the way, I’ve experienced all nine of these:

Warning sign number one: Your co-founder doesn’t agree with your vision for the company.

When I started with my first team, Jim, John, and I seemed to be working well together. I knew Jim from our time at Maxim Integrated Products, and he recommended John, another Maxim alumni, as our VP Engineering.



brett fox

I work with startup CEOs to help them grow their businesses . I built several businesses from $0 to >$100M. Learn more at