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I’m starting a Single Founder mastermind group

I’m starting a “mastermind group” of like minded single founders.

I am a single founder. I haven’t diagnosed why, but after co-founding two prior startups, I decided that I like it better being the sole founder. While I can code, design, and have picked up some business acumen, there are still deficiencies that you face when you don’t have a sidekick. To make up for not always having a co-founder to bounce ideas off of, I made up an imaginary friend named Charlie (No, I am not joking).

However, Charlie can only go so far, and its probably kind of weird,  so to compensate I’m starting a Single Founder “mastermind group.”

I mentioned this a few months ago on Hacker News, and now am talking to a few people that expressed interest. It looks like it is going to be a bit of a tango dance to zero in on a like minded group of people to create the mastermind. I’m posting this blog entry to widen the audience a bit and make sure I talk to enough people and get to a real quality group to form the mastermind with.

I believe that part of this is going to be serendipity, but it doesn’t hurt to have some principles established either. Here is how I’m envisioning it to work:

My goal is to bring together a small group of like minded single founders.

Ideally, this is the profile of people I am looking to bring together:

  1. Actively working on an idea
  2. Focusing on it full time or on a track to focus on it full time
  3. Has an actual skill, i.e. A graphics designer, or developer, or a pro marketer — NO IDEA GUYS
  4. Has a blind spot/lack of skill in a recognized area (for example I am working hard to develop my marketing and customer development skills).

Given the principles above, I think the value of the group becomes clearer. You’ll contribute to the group by helping others on what you’re good at, and you’ll get value by getting help on what you’re bad at.

Once we get the initial group together (which will be a bit of a tango dance), we can work to figure out where we are deficient as a group, so we can work to recruit more people from there. I’d probably want to limit the group to about 11 people. The key idea here is to give each other support, help each other, and just be available to the group.

The main commitment would be a 1hr conference call once a month or so, we can define the format later. And, if the group agrees to it, a private community online where we can talk about stuff in between meetings.

If you are interested, please get in touch with me, and if you have any ideas on how to make thjs better, just comment below.

  • Best of luck!

  • Hello tawheed, interesting post but it sounds a bit arrogant. You are asking peoples to join a group, with Your Goals, and YOU want the group to be max 11 peoples, well a bunch of stuff that sounds like YOU in this post, You already set the rules, let me put it this way: I’m the Boss here and I want you out there to join, to do what I think is right to do, we may agree as long as you agree with what I say and you bring your skills on the table for ME, and share those skills with others.

    No smart Guy will join this, so you may want to look at it again. It souds too much like “me , myself and you” , but of course I may be wrong.

    Best of Luck indeed.

  • Thomas

    Learn to work with others you sociopath and get off your “I’m a bad-ass founder” trip. Being a web-dev an entrepreneur does not make.

  • Charly, consider what I wrote above an opening bid. I have certain personal goals, and the whole point of this exercise is to find others that have the same goal.

    There will be some back and forth as we form the group and get in synch on something we all agree on, but before that can happen, I atleast need to write out what my vision is so that I attract the right people.

  • Brian McManus

    His post did not seem arrogant to me. He wants to create a single founder mastermind group with some goals and “you must be this tall to ride” rules. None of which were out of line. All were very reasonable.

    Now why is everyone being so rude and throwing out names in the form of a clinical diagnosis? Are you guys just acting out in the form of fear from a sense of deprivation? Did you not fit his criteria and are jealous? No … that couldn’t be the reason why you spent five minutes berating someone on their own blog!

  • sounds like it could be amusing

    A self-funded group might be even more interesting. In my mind, startups often become a whole lot less interesting when they start chasing investor money.

  • I’m interested in joining. I have programming and database skills, but I’m not using them much right now. Like you I’m trying to develop the skills I’m missing or still weak at, like: marketing, presentation, market research, blogging, community development, etc.

    My biggest problem is asking for help, so this sounds like a really nice format for me to offer my help and see what happens as relationships develop.

    Thanks for writing! I hope you’ll consider me for the first 11.

    btw I think single founders will always be prone to being labeled arrogant, especially by those who don’t have the courage to walk alone. The only difference is, we like to call it confidence instead. 🙂

  • Luke, I agree with you. I left it out of my initial bid because I didn’t want to be unnecessary biased, not yet atleast. The “group” might decide on it to be a good parameter though.

  • Seth Lesky

    I think it’s a great idea.

    Being a “single founder” for many is a natural stage in the startup process. A particularly challenging stage at that. Few would turn down an excellent cofounder that can execute, shares vision and doesn’t drive you nuts while spending insane hours in close proximity. If you’ve found that person, consider yourself blessed.

    For everyone else, something like this could help fill in some gaps, and provide support/strategies from a similar perspective.

  • Chris

    Your braintrust logo looks strikingly similar to the Ubuntu logo…

  • Thanks a lot. I want to be in. Feeling very much alone here 😛

  • heuristic

    You know, the catalysing of masterminds is itself a business idea.

  • Ben

    It would seem most lone founders are going to fit the same mold: 1. Able to build stuff 2. Unable to market/sell

    You don’t see many marketer/salesman as lone founders, they need something to market/sell.

  • Great idea, I fill out the form, I think we can all benefit from sharing knowledge and experience. I guess kye thing is dedicate time to this effort and not 5 minutes with basic advising

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  • nolochemical

    Great post 🙂

    @arnorhs You hit the nail right on the head. Ted.com has an awesome thinktank model thats worthy of note, on varied topics. It would be interestiing to see this applied to specific projects.

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  • John Siegrist

    This reminds me of the old joke “World Soloists Unite”. However, this is a good idea. Depending on how well this works out for you and the group of masterminds you put together for the meetings, you could probably come up with a fallback plan of going in to business together consulting for other startups and/or established companies.

  • Ok, I understand what you mean , that’s a good idea.

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  • Ben James

    Someone in this reddit had the same idea. You guys should get together:

    http://www.reddit.com/r/solostartups/comments/c91e1/solo_startups_mastermind_group/

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