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Can Friendship and Business Get Along Together While Building a Startup into a Company?

Evan asked his first question: “What’s the worst thing I can do as CEO to fuck the company up?”

Without skipping a beat, Campbell responded: “Hire your fucking friends!” He went into a ten-minute tirade about friends and business and how they don’t mix.

This conversation summarises the first meeting between Evan Williams (Ev), Co-Founder, Twitter, with Bill Campbell, legendary CEO coach, who has mentored Steve Jobs and a long list of other titans.

steve jobs apple

It comes out as an important business lesson after reading the book, “Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal” by Nick Bilton, New York Times technology and business columnist and lead blogger for The New York Times Bits Blog.

More details regarding the book Hatching Twitter may be seen here. The book can be bought in different formats, including Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback and Audible.

Hatching Twitter Startup Story Co founder conflict

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So, the important business lesson is that friends and business do not mix. Although many startups and entrepreneurs begin their journey as couple of friends who get together to build the next build thing, most of such relationships end on a bitter note, as gradually, it gets difficult to draw a line between personal and professional relationships.

While carrying out day-to-day business activities, problems are encountered regularly and taking proactive business decisions can solve the problems. However, when it comes to friends, personal relations mostly overshadow the problem at hand, which subsequently snowballs into much bigger problems. On the contrary, if things go as per plan, such relationships can foster into great business partnerships.

In the end, be it friendships or business, it all boils down to how well people manage their relationships. While building a startup with a goal of generating a successful business, a co-founders agreement is an important document that can help avoid potential disputes. In case of conflicts, the co-founder agreement can provide clarity with regards to resolving such conflicts.

Rahul Dev (@rdpatentlawyer) is a patent attorney, international business lawyer, speaker & author. He serves as corporate counsel to clients worldwide. He blogs about Technology & IP Laws at www.TechLaw.Attorney and about Business, Strategy & Leadership at