Do You Have the Right Stuff?

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You find what you think is the perfect co-founder, core team, spouse, or even executive coach and they say, “I may not be right for you.

Successful match-making is part timing, part skills, experience and interests, and part karma.

The fact of that matter is that great combinations don’t just happen, they take work.

Take a review of famous co-founders for example: Jerry Yang and David Filo; Pierre Omidar and Jeffrey Skill; Bill Gates and Paul All; Evan Willams and Biz Stone; and Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. You discover that sooner or later those relationships changed as elements such as interests, health, skills sets, or corporate politics shifted and one of the duo played a larger, more significant role than their co-founder.

Good long effective working relationships are hard to find, and harder to endure successfully.

The right stuff in those relationships involves people getting what they need from the relationship, not necessarily all the time but most of the time, as things naturally wax and wane.

It takes work.

And it helps to have some luck. As  Thomas Jefferson noted that “I’m a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.

As someone whose work centers on boosting the effectiveness and success co-founders, partnerships,  startup and leadership teams, it’s a good sign when someone is mindful and wise enough to start the conversation with that statement of “I may not be right for you.

Ironically it just may mean they have all the right stuff.

It means they know it takes work and a good match to do well.


Life Back West is an occasional set of writings focused on the ways people, teams and organizations can be both more effective (doing the right thing) and more efficient (doing the right thing well.) More about the executive and team/leadership coaching services I provide can be found at the “About J. Mike Smith and Back West, Inc.” sidebar or the “Hire Me” tab. You can also read an online interview about that work at WhoHub.

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