Building a product and selling it. That’s it. There’s no room in early stage companies for COOs, CFOs, and other overhead. You need to be lean.
I’ve seen so many founders decide , “Ok, I’ll be CEO and you can be COO.” When I ask them who is doing what the answers are often muddled. A followup question like “who is responsible for customer acquisition” can elicit a blank stare. Tech-focused founders are almost always focused on the supply side, building their product and don’t think about customer development … until its too late.
So when you start a company you need to know, are you a builder or a seller? Whichever you are your co-founder needs to be the other. You may have to leave some friends behind. But startups aren’t about making friendship, they are about … making stuff … and selling it.