A key component of any startup is the people you start with.

These co-founders are the most important aspect of any new venture. Everything from monetary distribution, leadership advice, to technical execution will all be decided by you and your co founders. You will influence them, and they will influence you. The company will live or die by your group decisions.

Now, this could be a bitchy article of blame about how I had the wrong co-founders and I trusted the wrong people. Thats actually not what this is about. This is about knowing the difference between trusting people and knowing people. This is about managing expectations.

This is a lesson and my mistake. I picked the wrong partners, not because they were untrustworthy, (they were very trustworthy, and fantastic people to work with) but because we didn’t have the same expectations. I didn’t listen well enough. I didn’t take the time to ask the right questions to know what they were willing to put up with. And maybe they didn’t know either. We were all learning, all excited about the possibility but without proper foresight of what we would stick with if things went wrong.

The other issue, was the vision for the business was not concrete. It was still in flux, and that makes it hard for people to stay around when things go bad if they don’t even know what they’re staying around for. Practically speaking, people need money, or a vision that leads to money, to stick around. It is a job after all, lofty ideals only go so far.

In conclusion, yes trust is important, but more importantly you need to know people and know yourself to agree on expectations.