You must try to make the right decisions for what is best for the Company and if that means being labeled unfriendly to founders, so be it.
Fred Wilson, partner and co-founder of Union Square Ventures weighed on the topic of what is “founder friendly” after all? He was responding to a tweet from Dan Primack, a veteran writer who closely follows venture capital.
RIP “founder friendly” (2010-2017)
“Founder friendly” has gone from being a well meaning understanding of founders and their challenges during growth of the company to becoming a catch phrase for investors, who are happy to condone all or any behavior by the “founders.” It has become nothing more than marketing-speak for investors trying to find an edge!
I think we have all forgotten what it means to be a friend. We start confusing people we interact with on Twitter or Facebook as friends. A friend is someone who is a partner and not a member of your entourage. A friend is someone you have a relationship that is unconditional and not defined by a short-term gain. It is based on one’s ability to communicate with the other honestly. That is friendship.
Sometimes being a friend with someone means you have to tell them things they don’t want to hear. That framework is what should define what it is founder friendly. Outside of work, I expect my friends – real friends – to be the first ones to tell me when I start to paint outside the lines of decency, ethics and morality. When it comes to work, why should I expect any different.
To have a strong relationship with a founder means it is easier to have difficult conversations without both parties acting like emotionally challenged kids. Being part of a relationship like that of a founder and an investor is to know that both your interests are aligned – as people, as shareholders and caretakers of a bigger ecosystem that goes beyond any individual person.