Matt Mireles, Matt Swanson and Tyler Kieft inside the SpeakerCave, 2010
Tomorrow is one of my old co-founder‘s birthday. My phone reminded me. Unfortunately, we no longer speak. The end of SpeakerText was neither fun nor pretty. We fought over the scraps, echoing that old adage about academia:

Academic politics is the most vicious and bitter form of politics, because the stakes are so low.

Yes indeed, we tore each other to shreds. It was awful, particularly because we had been so close. We had been best friends. We lived together, travelled together, been through good times and bad. Observers affectionately called us “the twin sisters.”

Goddamnit, losing that relationship sucked…

Swig! started off as a solo project. I just  couldn’t bear the idea of jumping into a new co-founder relationship. The sting of the past was just too great.

Now I’m a few months in. The pain of the past has faded and the reality of building something alone has sunk in. Truth be told, I am not alone. I am working with people, but it’s not quite the same. I am “all-in”; they have jobs. It feels different. On one level, it’s great. I actually know wtf I’m doing, I control the product. On another, I miss that camaraderie, that closeness, that support in the face of failure.

Co-founders, man. They’re a wonderful, dangerous thing. Indulge at your own risk.

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The Founders of SpeakerText

7 Replies to “Co-Founders”

  1. My former Co-founder and I are doing great things 4 years ago. We became good friends and we are very much aligned on how to run our startup. Unfortunately, I lost a son 2 years ago, my wife is in shambles for a year so I took the year off. This has ended the partnership and the business. It is very hard to lose a very good co-founder and a friend. It was a blur during that time, now I am asking myself, what happened?
    There’s nothing to do now but pick up the pieces and start again.

  2. Yep, this is all very true. Lost a good friend the same way. And remember my Dad going thru the same kind of things in his business. It would be interesting to hear stories where friends & business partners has worked and if they did anything special.

  3. In retrospect, do you think there was something you could have done to ease the tension and maintain the relationship?

    1. @BenSima Yes. I could have either fired him or left the company. In retrospect, I wish I had taken that course.

      1. @mattmireles What about a compromise? It would be interesting to hear a more in-depth breakdown of what happened, especially since I’m currently starting a company with 3 of my closest friends (bensima(at)

  4. Woah woah woah – the “end” of SpeakerText? What happened? SpeakerText was like the best idea ever.

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