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promote @zwn to cofounder #1603

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chadwhitacre opened this Issue Oct 17, 2013 · 18 comments

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chadwhitacre commented Oct 17, 2013

One of the main pieces of feedback I've gotten on Gittip's YC application (#1404) is that Gittip needs a cofounder. I agree with this. However, finding the right cofounder is hard. I've approached @zwn, because from what we've done together so far I think he's competent and we're a pretty good fit personality-wise. The downside is that he can't work full-time on Gittip for the foreseeable future. However, after talking with @warreng, who applied and was rejected specifically for not having a cofounder, the sense seems to be that a part-time cofounder would be better than none at all.

[IRQ because the YC application deadline is October 21, and today is October 17.]

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chadwhitacre commented Oct 17, 2013

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clone1018 Oct 17, 2013

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Does @zwn want the job?

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clone1018 commented Oct 17, 2013

Does @zwn want the job?

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wyze Oct 17, 2013

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+1

Woo! Congrats!

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wyze commented Oct 17, 2013

+1

Woo! Congrats!

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But @zwn didn't found the company with you; you did it alone. He only joined much, much later (AFAIK).

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tshepang commented Oct 17, 2013

But @zwn didn't found the company with you; you did it alone. He only joined much, much later (AFAIK).

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pjc Oct 18, 2013

I don't like this "co-founder as a promotion" mentality. In an existing business you can make people "partner", but the founding moment was years ago.

Bit surprised you are willing to go so mainstream on this issue, even forcing reality into a story that is not really true. Honestly I'd just bootstrap Gittip, who cares what Silicon Valley investors think...

pjc commented Oct 18, 2013

I don't like this "co-founder as a promotion" mentality. In an existing business you can make people "partner", but the founding moment was years ago.

Bit surprised you are willing to go so mainstream on this issue, even forcing reality into a story that is not really true. Honestly I'd just bootstrap Gittip, who cares what Silicon Valley investors think...

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MikeFair Oct 18, 2013

I've been reading the threads. It looks like you could use a cofounder and
I'd like to take that on with you and @zwn. Logistically, I'm already in
California, can easily make the SF meetings, and want to make sure this
funding works out.

Let's discuss, I'll give you a call in the morning.
On Oct 17, 2013 11:31 AM, "Chad Whitacre" notifications@github.com wrote:

One of the main pieces of feedback I've gotten on Gittip's YC application (
#1404 #1404) is that
Gittip needs a cofounder. I agree with this. However, finding the right
cofounder is hard. I've approached @zwn https://github.com/zwn, because
from what we've done together so far I think he's competent and we're a
pretty good fit personality-wise. The downside is that he can't work
full-time on Gittip for the foreseeable future. However, after talkinghttps://botbot.me/freenode/bountysource/msg/6989726/with
@warreng https://github.com/warreng, who applied and was rejected
specifically for not having a cofounder, the sense seems to be that a
part-time cofounder would be better than none at all.

[IRQ because the YC application deadline is October 21, and today is
October 17.]


Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHubhttps://github.com/gittip/www.gittip.com/issues/1603
.

I've been reading the threads. It looks like you could use a cofounder and
I'd like to take that on with you and @zwn. Logistically, I'm already in
California, can easily make the SF meetings, and want to make sure this
funding works out.

Let's discuss, I'll give you a call in the morning.
On Oct 17, 2013 11:31 AM, "Chad Whitacre" notifications@github.com wrote:

One of the main pieces of feedback I've gotten on Gittip's YC application (
#1404 #1404) is that
Gittip needs a cofounder. I agree with this. However, finding the right
cofounder is hard. I've approached @zwn https://github.com/zwn, because
from what we've done together so far I think he's competent and we're a
pretty good fit personality-wise. The downside is that he can't work
full-time on Gittip for the foreseeable future. However, after talkinghttps://botbot.me/freenode/bountysource/msg/6989726/with
@warreng https://github.com/warreng, who applied and was rejected
specifically for not having a cofounder, the sense seems to be that a
part-time cofounder would be better than none at all.

[IRQ because the YC application deadline is October 21, and today is
October 17.]


Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHubhttps://github.com/gittip/www.gittip.com/issues/1603
.

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chadwhitacre Oct 18, 2013

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@tshepang: But @zwn didn't found the company with you; you did it alone.
@pjc: I don't like this "co-founder as a promotion" mentality.

I hesitated when I titled the ticket, for this very reason. YC uses the "cofounder" term throughout their application and FAQ and in "What Happens at YC".

I don't know what to do about this.

What I'm wrestling with here is that:

  1. YC strongly prefers companies with more than one founder.
  2. As @warreng sagely advises: "Don't think of it as 'I need a cofounder to get to the YC interview,' and instead, 'Gittip will be a much stronger company if i have a cofounder, and YC invests in strong companies.'"
  3. I'm empathetic to the value of a cofounder (I've had two past business experiences with cofounders).
  4. It really feels to me like, with Gittip, the community is my cofounder. This is really true for Gittip in a way it's not for other companies, because Gittip is an open company. Here are some examples of the community playing the role of cofounder in a real way:
    1. My morale is constantly boosted by the community (e.g., @clone1018 sending a laptop to @rummik).
    2. My decision-making is constantly corrected by the community (e.g., the pushback on "inbox zero").
    3. The community feels a real sense of ownership of Gittip (e.g., epic tickets like #5 #14 #28 #126 #138).
    4. If I disappear, the community would step in and take over, in some form or another.

It doesn't feel right to me to tack on a cofounder for YC, be it @zwn or @MikeFair or someone else (Mike and I did catch up via phone this morning, btw). If there were a clear slam-dunk choice that'd be one thing, but there isn't. @zwn can't work on Gittip full-time for the foreseeable future. @MikeFair has a strong vision for partnering with large OSS organizations that doesn't map well to Gittip right now.

YC may not be ready to hear it, but the community is my cofounder, and it would be disingenuous to pretend otherwise.

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chadwhitacre commented Oct 18, 2013

@tshepang: But @zwn didn't found the company with you; you did it alone.
@pjc: I don't like this "co-founder as a promotion" mentality.

I hesitated when I titled the ticket, for this very reason. YC uses the "cofounder" term throughout their application and FAQ and in "What Happens at YC".

I don't know what to do about this.

What I'm wrestling with here is that:

  1. YC strongly prefers companies with more than one founder.
  2. As @warreng sagely advises: "Don't think of it as 'I need a cofounder to get to the YC interview,' and instead, 'Gittip will be a much stronger company if i have a cofounder, and YC invests in strong companies.'"
  3. I'm empathetic to the value of a cofounder (I've had two past business experiences with cofounders).
  4. It really feels to me like, with Gittip, the community is my cofounder. This is really true for Gittip in a way it's not for other companies, because Gittip is an open company. Here are some examples of the community playing the role of cofounder in a real way:
    1. My morale is constantly boosted by the community (e.g., @clone1018 sending a laptop to @rummik).
    2. My decision-making is constantly corrected by the community (e.g., the pushback on "inbox zero").
    3. The community feels a real sense of ownership of Gittip (e.g., epic tickets like #5 #14 #28 #126 #138).
    4. If I disappear, the community would step in and take over, in some form or another.

It doesn't feel right to me to tack on a cofounder for YC, be it @zwn or @MikeFair or someone else (Mike and I did catch up via phone this morning, btw). If there were a clear slam-dunk choice that'd be one thing, but there isn't. @zwn can't work on Gittip full-time for the foreseeable future. @MikeFair has a strong vision for partnering with large OSS organizations that doesn't map well to Gittip right now.

YC may not be ready to hear it, but the community is my cofounder, and it would be disingenuous to pretend otherwise.

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Honestly I'd just bootstrap Gittip, who cares what Silicon Valley investors think...

We wouldn't go to YC for the funding, we'd go for the connections. The goal would be to find new companies interested in investing in OSS via Gittip.

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chadwhitacre commented Oct 18, 2013

Honestly I'd just bootstrap Gittip, who cares what Silicon Valley investors think...

We wouldn't go to YC for the funding, we'd go for the connections. The goal would be to find new companies interested in investing in OSS via Gittip.

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chadwhitacre commented Oct 18, 2013

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MikeFair Oct 18, 2013

Let's change the name from cofounders to coleaders.

And consider that naming a few individuals as coleaders would help the
reviewers get to know what makes gittip.com tick. Naming a mass of 20,000+
doesn't really help give the reviewers something specific they can identify
as leadership/at-stakeness/executive authority.
On Oct 18, 2013 11:46 AM, "Chad Whitacre" notifications@github.com wrote:

Honestly I'd just bootstrap Gittip, who cares what Silicon Valley
investors think...

We wouldn't go to YC for the funding, we'd go for the connections. The
goal would be to find new companies interested in investing in OSS via
Gittip.


Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHubhttps://github.com/gittip/www.gittip.com/issues/1603#issuecomment-26620013
.

Let's change the name from cofounders to coleaders.

And consider that naming a few individuals as coleaders would help the
reviewers get to know what makes gittip.com tick. Naming a mass of 20,000+
doesn't really help give the reviewers something specific they can identify
as leadership/at-stakeness/executive authority.
On Oct 18, 2013 11:46 AM, "Chad Whitacre" notifications@github.com wrote:

Honestly I'd just bootstrap Gittip, who cares what Silicon Valley
investors think...

We wouldn't go to YC for the funding, we'd go for the connections. The
goal would be to find new companies interested in investing in OSS via
Gittip.


Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHubhttps://github.com/gittip/www.gittip.com/issues/1603#issuecomment-26620013
.

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chadwhitacre Oct 18, 2013

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@MikeFair It doesn't feel right that you've been out of the loop for a year and then come out of the woodwork to volunteer to be a leader with executive authority once we start talking about getting in front of Y Combinator. It'd be different if you'd been helping us grow Gittip for the past year, but on the phone today you said that "there isn't really anything here to offer" bigger OSS projects, which I think is baloney. :-)

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chadwhitacre commented Oct 18, 2013

@MikeFair It doesn't feel right that you've been out of the loop for a year and then come out of the woodwork to volunteer to be a leader with executive authority once we start talking about getting in front of Y Combinator. It'd be different if you'd been helping us grow Gittip for the past year, but on the phone today you said that "there isn't really anything here to offer" bigger OSS projects, which I think is baloney. :-)

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pjc Oct 19, 2013

Even if you don't go for the funding, I feel going to YC would make Gittip less special as a concept.

I want to see a world where "Gittipping a business" is a viable alternative to bootstrapping and incubating/raising.

incubating = growing faster than customer demand, fueled by venture capital that bets on an hypothesis.
bootstrapping = growing along customer demand, adapting the product based on usage feedback.
gittipping = growing along community interest, best suited for basic infrastructure projects with a public goods nature

Edit: Also, I think connections come naturally if your product becomes more indispensable.

pjc commented Oct 19, 2013

Even if you don't go for the funding, I feel going to YC would make Gittip less special as a concept.

I want to see a world where "Gittipping a business" is a viable alternative to bootstrapping and incubating/raising.

incubating = growing faster than customer demand, fueled by venture capital that bets on an hypothesis.
bootstrapping = growing along customer demand, adapting the product based on usage feedback.
gittipping = growing along community interest, best suited for basic infrastructure projects with a public goods nature

Edit: Also, I think connections come naturally if your product becomes more indispensable.

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chadwhitacre Oct 20, 2013

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@pjc Hmmm ... I've been thinking that YC is a 50/50 toss-up. If they're interested, fine. I spend three months in SF and get to meet lots of people and spread the word about Gittip. If they're not interested, fine. I spend two weeks in SF this winter and get to meet some people and spread the word about Gittip (I already have invitations to speak at Dropbox and Heroku, e.g.). What I hear you suggesting though is that YC would be actively bad for Gittip, yes?

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chadwhitacre commented Oct 20, 2013

@pjc Hmmm ... I've been thinking that YC is a 50/50 toss-up. If they're interested, fine. I spend three months in SF and get to meet lots of people and spread the word about Gittip. If they're not interested, fine. I spend two weeks in SF this winter and get to meet some people and spread the word about Gittip (I already have invitations to speak at Dropbox and Heroku, e.g.). What I hear you suggesting though is that YC would be actively bad for Gittip, yes?

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ehmatthes Oct 20, 2013

I think most groups and communities start to feel "less special" when they grow to a large enough scale. I have seen this in face-to-face groups I have been part of, and certainly in online communities.

I want Gittip to become "less special". I was talking about Gittip with a scientist/ writer friend last night. Of course he had never heard of Gittip, but he loved the idea. I want to be surprised when people don't know about Gittip.

I would love to see you go to YC for Gittip. YC seems great for nonprofits that are ready to scale. Maybe it's a little scary for some people; if you go to YC and Gittip doesn't take off, maybe some of the doubters are right. I think Gittip is solid, you've got the right priorities, and I sure hope YC says yes. That said, I don't think you are dependent on YC. That's a pretty good place to be right now.

I think most groups and communities start to feel "less special" when they grow to a large enough scale. I have seen this in face-to-face groups I have been part of, and certainly in online communities.

I want Gittip to become "less special". I was talking about Gittip with a scientist/ writer friend last night. Of course he had never heard of Gittip, but he loved the idea. I want to be surprised when people don't know about Gittip.

I would love to see you go to YC for Gittip. YC seems great for nonprofits that are ready to scale. Maybe it's a little scary for some people; if you go to YC and Gittip doesn't take off, maybe some of the doubters are right. I think Gittip is solid, you've got the right priorities, and I sure hope YC says yes. That said, I don't think you are dependent on YC. That's a pretty good place to be right now.

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pjc Oct 21, 2013

@ehmatthes the difference between the Gittip community and others is that the entire point of Gittip is to invent a new funding mechanism. So yes, @whit537 , I feel it is bad PR for Gittip to stop eating its own dog food.

pjc commented Oct 21, 2013

@ehmatthes the difference between the Gittip community and others is that the entire point of Gittip is to invent a new funding mechanism. So yes, @whit537 , I feel it is bad PR for Gittip to stop eating its own dog food.

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ehmatthes Oct 21, 2013

I understand that Gittip has been built to be sustainable through its own funding, but I don't see accepting the one-time funding that YC offers nonprofits as straying too far from that goal. Chad is interested in YC for the connections he will make on behalf of Gittip, and I think there is plenty of reason to do that. There may be a few purists who dismiss Gittip for being connected with YC, but I think the overall exposure will help Gittip scale.

I understand that Gittip has been built to be sustainable through its own funding, but I don't see accepting the one-time funding that YC offers nonprofits as straying too far from that goal. Chad is interested in YC for the connections he will make on behalf of Gittip, and I think there is plenty of reason to do that. There may be a few purists who dismiss Gittip for being connected with YC, but I think the overall exposure will help Gittip scale.

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the difference between the Gittip community and others is that the entire point of Gittip is to invent a new funding mechanism.

Ah! Well, that's a good point that hasn't been brought up yet. If Gittip is accepted, what would we do with the money? That's actually a wider concern. I received a $125 honorarium this past week, and I'm speaking next week for another $200. What should I do with those checks? Reticketed as #1607.

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chadwhitacre commented Oct 21, 2013

the difference between the Gittip community and others is that the entire point of Gittip is to invent a new funding mechanism.

Ah! Well, that's a good point that hasn't been brought up yet. If Gittip is accepted, what would we do with the money? That's actually a wider concern. I received a $125 honorarium this past week, and I'm speaking next week for another $200. What should I do with those checks? Reticketed as #1607.

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That said, I don't think you are dependent on YC. That's a pretty good place to be right now.

Agreed. :-)

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chadwhitacre commented Oct 21, 2013

That said, I don't think you are dependent on YC. That's a pretty good place to be right now.

Agreed. :-)

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