Meet the Partner’s Significant Other

People always say “it’s nothing personal, it’s just business.”  When it comes to partnerships, it’s not just business – it’s personal.

I like to meet with the spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend/significant other prior to getting too far down the mulberry path with a prospective partner. I want to be able to see how they interact with each other and determine if the love interest of my partner and I have chemistry. If the love interest of a prospective partner isn’t supportive of the project or business, sooner or later there will be a problem.

Launching or running a business is stressful. There are a million things that can go wrong and it takes a certain type of personality to survive the small to the big challenges. If a partner has a solid relationship with their love interest, they can clear the hurdles that show up.  Do your homework.


Founders Pie Examples

Tweetup at Wynn Las Vegas with Tony Hsieh and his girlfriend (this is the event where I met Joseph Morin but I didn’t get a picture with him)


I met Joseph Morin (@josephmorin or!/josephmorin) at a tweetup at Wynn Las Vegas a few years ago and kept in touch with him. He’s on the advisory board for Klout, he’s the CEO of Social Rewards and I think he has done a few transactions (translation: he’s sold a couple of companies he founded or was involved in).  In general, I think very highly of Mr. Morin.

A few years ago I was working on a project to take a cloud-based ERP application to market (back before it was revolting to hear everyone throw the word about unnecessarily). There were originally five of us working on this project and we needed to figure out how we were going to divvy up the work and rewards.  We were months into the process before I asked Joseph for some tips on how to divide the pie.

Here is what Joseph was kind enough to share with me (excellent resources that I recommend to anyone that is going to have one or more partners):

Here is the original link he shared:

Then he followed up with this: “Noam Wasserman alludes to the same calculator here but its essentially the same thing, he is the professor from MIT”

“His blog is a goldmine of startup information by the way, for a lot of issues.”

My biggest take-away from the ERP project is to divide the pie prior to doing a lick of work regardless of the temptation to treat a project like it’s not that big of a deal. I don’t personally do vanity projects unless they are to help my kid get experience. Everything else better yield money because I work hard and like to live well.  One last note: have one to three people review any agreement you are going to sign with a partner to get a sanity check. If one of them is an attorney, even better. More than three people reviewing an agreement and it becomes chaotic and counter-productive. Just my two cents.