StartUp Founders: Consider a Co-Founder with a Wealth of Experience as an Individual Contributor

While many assume that youth and inexperience can be the key to success as a founder, there's another group of individuals to consider: high-performing individual contributors as co-founders.

Many people assume that startup founders are young, inexperienced and naive. While these attributes can make them great founders, there is another group of individuals that startup founders should consider for co-founders: high-performing individual contributors (ICs) who have a wealth of experience.

These individuals have worked in big companies, have been pushed into management, and have spent a significant amount of time managing people instead of being ICs. However, with the current cycle of layoffs and opportunities for severance packages, many of these experienced ICs are considering leaving and starting their own companies.

Having an experienced IC as a co-founder can be a huge advantage for a startup. They have the cash, the experience, the network, and the know-how to execute. This is not to say that experience is the only thing that matters, but having someone with a deep understanding of the industry and the ability to execute can be a game-changer.

Consider the example of Square, a payment processing company founded by Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey. Jim had been working as an IC in the glassblowing industry for years before starting Square. His experience and expertise in glassblowing gave him the technical knowledge needed to create the company’s first card reader. Without his contribution as an experienced IC, Square might not have been the success that it is today.

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