Pandemic prompts co-founders to conduct couples therapy


Before them Co-founders Kris Chaisanguanthum and Ryan Damm are friends. Then in 2016, they founded Visby, a holographic imaging company. Chaisanguanthum said: “You talk about doing business with people who get along well, but nothing you do with friends is as intense as starting a company.” “It’s like having a baby in many ways.”

Chaisanguanthum already has a child and is not prepared for the promise he made. When they disagree, it is difficult for him and Dum to make a decision. After a hard day, Dum likes to sympathize; Chaisanguanthum prefers to be alone. A few years later, the feeling of injury intensified, making it difficult to maintain their working relationship. Chaisanguanthum remember an article He has read articles about co-founders receiving treatment, such as couples in trouble. “I remember thinking at the time that this is the most important thing in Silicon Valley’s history,” he said. But what must they lose? The two made an appointment.

Co-founder therapy, like mindfulness meditation and intermittent fasting, belongs to the long tradition of self-improvement in Silicon Valley. But after a stressful year, it quickly became mainstream, which prompted more founders to take therapy courses.

Laura Kasper, a psychologist in San Francisco, noticed that the number of co-founder customers has increased significantly during the pandemic, when external pressures made entrepreneurial life more stressful. “Most people are in crisis,” she said. When the conversation is limited to e-mail and Zoom, communication problems will be amplified. Power struggles are one of the most common problems in founding teams, but they are exacerbated by the impact of new business decisions (such as whether to transform).

Reid Hoffman has Likened to Run a start-up company, “throw yourself off the cliff and assemble an airplane on the way down the mountain”. Elon Musk compares it to “Eat glass. “But many founders still underestimate the challenge of working with another person. Day after day, this intimacy is usually only used for marriage. Noam Wasserman worked with thousands of people when writing his 2012 book. Founders had a conversation The founder’s dilemmaAt the time, it was estimated that 65% of startups failed due to co-founder conflicts.

These conflicts will only intensify under the pressure of the blockade last year. “If anger and resentment are not resolved, it will really show up more strongly,” said Matthew Jones, a psychologist and co-founder and founder of Clarity Coaching Method. “I have seen several partnerships, and in different situations, they may last longer.” Very similar The wave of pandemic breakups, Jones said that the pandemic did not reason The conflict between the co-founders even brought existing conflicts to the surface. Since colleagues are usually less likely to talk about their feelings than husbands and wives, these tensions have prompted many angry clients to enter his virtual office.

Jones charges a monthly hiring fee of $2,000 to help his co-founder clients “use self-awareness” in their decision-making. Although this job is different from executive coaching or couples therapy, he also emphasizes building trust and communication. “Most business-related disagreements are actually due to unresolved emotional issues,” he said. “I teach co-founders the art of resolving conflicts by slowing down and really listening to each other. This way can help each other feel heard and understood.”

It can feel a little whine, but some people swear. A startup founder told me that simple exercises, such as repeating what his co-founder said to him before responding, might save his business relationship. “If you think about entrepreneurial culture, speed is very important,” he said. “This makes us deliberately slow down.” Although his meetings are very helpful, he is not sure whether the entrepreneurial community will be optimistic about these practices. He and his co-founder spoke to me on condition of anonymity because they are raising Series B financing and do not want to alienate investors. “Go for treatment,” the founder told me, “indicating that there is a problem.”


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