Are there reasons to believe that starting with a stranger as a cofounder will generally work out well if you can pick the stranger carefully?
Sure, and some people go there looking for that. Most go there looking for short term enjoyment and possible long term relationships. That doesn't map onto the cofounder search. There is not much value in having the equivalent of "a couple dates" with at potential cofounder. And some people would actually see it as a negative, if they're worried (rightly or wrongfully) about their idea being stolen.
Which is probably a petty lousy idea.
I don't see how starting a company with a stranger is going to have better results. There will always be exceptions, but it seems like a bad idea.
You're perhaps incurring more risk, compared to a friend/colleague you've known for 10 years; but then, there may also be a reward in connecting with a talented mind who you wouldn't've otherwise. (And it's not as though startups with close friends can't also go south in very ugly ways.)
You want to start a company, you know what you want to make, to provide.
You've been itching to do this for years.
You think, "I can only do this with someone I know incredibly well, who has the right personality traits and skills".
What are you going to do with your dream if you don't know anyone like that?
Grow old and die waiting?
Those years are passing by, and you still haven't met the right co-founder among your friends...
Also in terms of getting to know whether you can work with someone, it's not as hard as say finding a spouse, where you tend to not even know what you want.
I recently met with a guy with a very similar professional background to myself and I could tell immediately we thought the same way. We definitely qualified each other. I'm sure that kind of thing happens to a lot of experienced professionals.
The best way to learn from your mistakes is when you're open to making a bunch of them.
And "bad" can have many definitions: they can be great friends but lack the entrepreneurial spirit, you may feel like they do less than you – even though they have just as many shares, or they do something that proves you can't trust them... plus so many other scenarios.
In a perfect world, you would be able to pick and choose from people who are trustworthy, great to hang out with, super skilled and willing to give up a stable job to risk building a startup. But in the real world, most people lack at least a couple of those things and you have to compromise.
I would be super cautious starting a company with a stranger. But... Finding a developer who's a friend willing to work for free (for a promise of future returns, that is) is super hard, and I'm actually talking to a potential co-founder met via FoundersList now.
My first three steps to verify whether building a startup together makes sense would be:
1. Get to know each other, talk a few times, see if you like each other and the vibe is right. Travel together for a few days if you can (which may be tough right now) – that can be a real test of whether you can stand to be with each other and how you react to different situations.
2. Work on something small together. Maybe a pre-MVP version of your app or one feature. No commitment until it's ready.
3. If it turns out you worked together well and delivered something good without jumping at each other's throats and you feel good about it, then go ahead and build that big thing as co-founders.
Just make sure to have a written agreement that determines what happens if one of the founders decides to leave, how decisions are made, etc. – it may seem like too much in the beginning but it will save you a lot of stress and fighting over "silly" stuff later on.
"Choosing the wrong co-founders" is actually one of the top startup mistakes for me.
If you would like to read about more, here's an article I wrote some time ago about the top 11 startup mistakes I wish I don't ever make again: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/you-fail-can-less-making-othe....
It didn't end well.
There are no guarantees. Other than not starting won't end in failure. It just won't start.
Now I'm a technical manager who can code pretty well, but that's not really all that helpful to launch something legit and complex.
> I spent years doing this, but I would still need / want a technical co-founder for my ideas
There's two reasons why a non-technical founder should learn to code:
1: To get past the "computers can read minds" trap, and to have a high level understanding of what's going on under the hood. (Elon Musk knows an awful lot about how his cars work.)
2: For the same reason CTOs need to understand topics like product-market fit.
Why? Here's the hard truth - 90% of these won't EVER see profit, and you'll likely sink a TON of time (and potentially money) into something that doesn't necessarily ever pay out vs. scratching the "I'm an entrepreneur!" itch.
Doesn't stop fools like myself from circling back to the startup arena though ever few years after refilling the coffers, but it's only healthy to look at this stuff as "gambling" or "fishing" vs. having any real expectations for success.
That all being said - risk is the only way we grow!
Cofounders looking for salesperson to work for commission only.
• There is less risk in starting the relationship. You're not divvying up shares in a company or even paying a fixed salary. The only thing you stand to lose is the time spent figuring out the comp structure
• Founders don't have to open up quite as much about the business, and worry that their idea will be stolen/copied. This is partly because founders seeking salespeople will be further along (alpha version or later), and partly because there's less of a fear that a salesperson will start a copycat company than an engineer (because of skills, not intrinsic honesty).
edit: prospect, not vendor
> • There is less risk in starting the relationship. You're not divvying up shares in a company or even paying a fixed salary. The only thing you stand to lose is the time spent figuring out the comp structure
> • Founders don't have to open up quite as much about the business, and worry that their idea will be stolen/copied. This is partly because founders seeking salespeople will be further along (alpha version or later), and partly because there's less of a fear that a salesperson will start a copycat company than an engineer (because of skills, not intrinsic honesty).
For a salesperson you want to work with, they are making minimum $15k per month. Why are they even going to talk to you when you aren't offering equity or money? Do you think that cold-calling is fun-time?
So, the salesperson should risk losing a contact (and an account) for... nothing?
From the perspective of the prospect, the salesperson is making a recommendation. If the startup fails to deliver, then it can cause a lot of problems in the relationship.
The point of parent of this thread is that developers tend to receive very unreasonable requests from people wanting to start companies and are not developers, and I am demonstrating that there are other professions that receive the same treatment from the developers.
If you're a salesperson looking at either taking a job at an established company with a proven product and a pipeline of leads, or a startup with no traction and no proven product, the only thing that could possibly incentivize you towards the startup would be equity and (potentially) an insane commission rate. With no equity, you're doing a much harder job with less upside and significantly more downside.
Email those organisations with a brief introduction explaining who you are, that you have found yourself available, you specifically want to help organisations like theirs [because X], and that you are willing to help in the following ways [...].
You'll get one or two back in the timeframe you are available for that have actually had your message read by someone both senior and knowledgable enough to work out how they can make use of you.
I don't know if they consolidated it to a specific website. The times I ran into them, they were focused on homeless lgbt (they thought some app would help) and other kinds of public health initiatives involving racism, transphobia, safe spaces, all that ... don't assume the attitude of the users on the platform reflect that of the company, they seemed to be pretty upstanding. 
It looked like they had an extensive network. You could probably reach out to them over a general email address ...
 this isn't uncommon. LA Weekly and Village Voice used to do good, well financed local journalism but most of the funding came from backpage, a site where sex workers advertised. Browsing for a night a thrills financed reporters covering city council meetings, really.
I had the privilege to lead all product UX and UI on this new version. happy to do the same again for the right startup. just DM me.
What I'm doing short term is to try to enable people with disabilities to write on computers.
I noticed that this might fill a gap in VR usage for productive purposes.
At heart I want to be openminded and work honestly against the truth so I'd like to set up a non profit to further this research.
Have a lot of cool ideas. Can't do very much atm as I ran out of funds was forced to apply for a job. Now my hands are a bit tied by the IP clause in my contract.
trbefrrnd at gmail.com
If you're in SF or already part of the startup/VC community this website probably isn't for you. But for thousands of entrepreneurial minded, experienced people who just need a partner, this is a great resource. (Of course caveats apply! But don't they always? If you're joining/founding a startup nobody will do your due diligence but you!)
Thanks for posting, and I will be going through some of the posts with great interest.
Is there more of a tinder version? Just dump two people into a shared video chat and pair programming session to just start building something with someone?
Not code-roulette, but paired like founders list here. Just less reading and more connecting.
Or a shared repl, Jupyter notebook, or Google doc/sheet/slides for collab.
Anything closer to something like that exist?
Bisons hailng from Buffalo, N.Y. confuse confound and befuddle more of their own kind.
Those bullied N.Y. buffalo take their rage out on the general buffalo population.
Did you set me up for that? :-)
Bisons (Buffalo) bewilder (buffalo) Buffalo bisons (Buffalo bisons) confuse (buffalo) annoy (buffalo) and vexate (buffalo) other bisons (buffalo).
But that is not grammatical.
Neither is my second parse:
Bisons from Buffalo (Buffalo buffalo) Bisons from Buffalo (Buffalo buffalo) confuse (buffalo) and vexate (buffalo) other bisons (buffalo).
Am I missing it?
You can do this:
Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.
Which is like my first post except each alternative definition of buffalo (confuse, annoy, vexate) is included using the word buffalo in its stead.
But that's just gratuitous.