“They both love it when I talk tech to them.
I talk business model and then they look into each others eyes and smile.
I talk tech stack and they are all super excited. Jumping!
I talk monetization and they are like ‘ugh..’.
I talk user growth and they think: ‘let’s build more features to drive this !”
Welcome to the world of cofounders.
From my several interactions with early stage founders, here is what I can summarize about 80% of early stage product startups: 2 CTO syndrome.
The co-founders are great fellas. They were heading engineering/product in their earlier roles. They have known each other for some time. They both talk the same language. They both bring similar mindsets and similar thought process to the table.
And this is bloody scary!
CoFounders & Skill Sets
Everybody suggests that cofounders need to bring complimentary skill sets – but let me tell you this:
It’s not just about the skill set.
It’s about perspective and way of thinking.
It’s about growing one’s mental model to grow the business.
You can be 2 nerds and still think in different directions. Growing a startup needs that, irrespective of what skills you bring to the table.
DO You Have 2 CTO Problem? Here Is A Simple Test
You have a growth problem and (angel) investors want to see some ‘more’ traction before they invest.
“Let’s Launch More Features.”
If both (or all) of you think like this, then you surely are going through 2 CTO syndrome.
The most interesting part about this 2 CTO syndrome is that you won’t realize it at all – it’ll take an external entity (smart advisors/mentors) to get this in your head (i.e. if you are lucky).
In some cases, it’s too late to fix the 2 CTO syndrome – late to an extent that your Series A investors will throw one of the founders and hire a seasoned professional to run the company.
PS : Why am I not talking about 2-CEO syndrome? Well, most of the product startups are started by nerds/geeks and they bring tech focus more than business.