Who Should You Never Add As A Co-Founder?

brett fox
5 min readMay 9

“I just bought a unit in new The Millennium building, up in the City,” my co-founder, “Ken”, said to me. “You should check it out!”

Picture: Depositphotos

“Really,” I said. “I thought you were going to buy a house on the peninsula, closer to where our future office will be?”

“Nope,” Ken said, laughing. “The Millennium was calling me!”

“Okay,” I said.

At that moment, I wondering how all in Ken was going to be once we became operational. The drive from San Francisco to our office, without traffic, was going to be close to an hour each way. Was Ken really going to make that drive every day?

Rule Number One: You should never start a company with a co-founder that isn’t all in.

Ken and I had known each other for about twenty years before we started our company together. We were friends. Our wives were friends. We vacationed together.

Most importantly, we had worked together. Ken was a known commodity, or at least, I thought he was.

Ken was the best sales manager I had ever worked with. It was a coup to have him as a co-founder because you usually can’t recruit a great sales VP when you’re just starting out.

Now I began to worry about Ken’s commitment to the company. And my worry grew larger after I went up to the City and saw Ken’s unit in The Millennium; it was huge with a view of the Bay Bridge.

“Wow,” I said to Ken. “This is really nice. I don’t think I’d ever want to leave (if I lived there).”

“Let’s go to the gym downstairs,” Ken said.

Ken and I took the elevator downstairs to the gym. It was world class. The equipment was brand new. The facility was spotless.

Ken and I finished our workout, and then I was about to go on my way home. Ken said to me, “Brett, you and Blossom should have dinner with us at the Michael Mina restaurant on the ground floor. It’s awesome!”

“Sure,” I said.

All the way back down the peninsula, I was thinking about Ken’s future. There would be a lot of travel. Would Ken really want to leave the opulence of The Millennium for life at a bunch of…

brett fox

I work with startup CEOs to help them grow their businesses . I built several businesses from $0 to >$100M. Learn more at https://www.brettjfox.com