by Vlad Stan

Founder & CEO of Startupkit and other 12 tech companies in the last 15 years.

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‘You cut, I choose’: A protocol for breaking up with your business partners

This article was initially published on The Next Web:


It was the winter of 2007 around Christmas time. I was about to receive one of the most beautiful presents I’d ever gotten.

Many founders dream to build a company and make an exit. I was negotiating with Sanoma Hearst on an acquisition of the company I started seven years prior. The exit was a well-deserved gift after many years of hard work. Sanoma offered ~$4M for one of my websites which valuated the entire company at $9M.

Four years before, I got an investment from a real estate fund that was interested in starting its tech operations, and gave them 60 percent of the company shares and control for an investment in the company. This was the first stupid move I made – giving up control to someone that has no clue about running a technology company.

When Sanoma had...

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The smallest thing you can do to dramatically improve your performance.


Photo by Sebastian Arce and Mariana Montes

As one of the best tango dancers told me, it’s finding a new pair of shoes (aka finding the best tool for your core job).

I’ve been dancing tango for five years now. Two years ago, I asked one of the best tango dancers in the world what was the smallest improvement I could make to achieve maximum impact in Tango?

His answer:

Buy a new pair of shoes. With a good pair of shoes you will be able to pivot better and smoothly slide on the floor so your dance will be more circular. When the dance is more circular, the girls enjoy it more, thus dramatically improving your dance.

This was totally unexpected and mind-blowing. The more I thought about it, the better I was connecting the dots. There are definitely many other things you need to do in order to dance tango well — you need a lot of learning and practice, you need courage and perseverance....

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StartupKit company culture

Why we’re building this

We want to help entrepreneurs find the best tools for their startups, and to help them simplify their workflows In other words, we want to help entrepreneurs put a man on the moon. We do this because we’re obsessed with technology, learning, entrepreneurship, and productivity.

Our product recommends to every entrepreneur a few tools which best fit his role and startup. There will be more than 100.000 tools available for startups, and probably more than 1B founders by 2020. Imagine the possibilities!

The Team

We are a small team doing our best to create a big impact. We’re a startup keeping everything lean, smart, and agile. We believe that bright people will always want to work with their peers, so everyone in the team is already an expert in something as (s)he has already been working on her/his obsession for more than 5-6 years. Also, we highly value high...

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Does everybody in your team know who you’re building stuff for?


Why aligning your team should be your main focus, especially when you’re shooting for the moon.

There is this famous story about President John F. Kennedy’s first visit to NASA’s headquarters back in 1961.

While touring the facility, the President’s entourage reportedly came upon a man mopping the floor in one of the hallways. The President stopped to chat with the man, shook his hand, and asked what he did at NASA. The janitor proudly addressed the young President by saying, “Sir, I’m helping to put a man on the moon!”

Now, if President John F. Kennedy asked your co-founders and your teammates the same question, what would their answer be?

My bet is that they would most likely give both different and vague answers. Try it.

I’ve searched for perfectly aligned teams all over the world and found very few. Most of them have a dissonant way of tackling and seeing problems. I’m referring...

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