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The OP is saying that there should be a single person who has final authority. Is this incompatible with having multiple founders?

I can imagine a Kirk-Spock sort of startup, where one person excels at making decisions and doing the legwork, and another at providing information and skills.

I suppose, in practice, few people can trust someone else to make all the decisions, especially if it's their future on the line. What's your experience been?

When there are multiple founders, there's usually one who is a bit more driven than the others. Usually if you had to send an email to just one person at the company, you'd know instinctively who to send it to. But it's rare in a successful startup for anyone to have final authority. In a good startup, the founders generally seem to operate by consensus.

Is this incompatible with having multiple founders?

I should hope not. There has to be a unified vision of some sort. I'd like to point everyone in the direction of the Fred Brooks presentation from OOPSLA: http://www.oopsla.org/podcasts/Keynote_FrederickBrooks.mp3

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