Solo A No No

Paul Graham is an essayist, programmer, and programming language designer with a PhD in Computer Science from Harvard. He’s currently sharing some excellent advise for startups on his site.

Have you ever noticed how few successful startups were founded by just one person? Even companies you think of as having one founder, like Oracle, usually turn out to have more. It seems unlikely this is a coincidence.
What’s wrong with having one founder? To start with, it’s a vote of no confidence. It probably means the founder couldn’t talk any of his friends into starting the company with him. That’s pretty alarming, because his friends are the ones who know him best.
But even if the founder’s friends were all wrong and the company is a good bet, he’s still at a disadvantage. Starting a startup is too hard for one person. Even if you could do all the work yourself, you need colleagues to brainstorm with, to talk you out of stupid decisions, and to cheer you up when things go wrong.

I, for one, continue to be thankful that AdPulp is a group project and that I have a business partner to share the ups and downs with. Speaking of my partner, Shawn’s been busy this week welcoming Emma Bella Hartley into the world. Congrats Terri and Shawn!



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.