The Duo

I’ve been thinking about the concept of “the duo” a lot recently.

Many of the companies I’m involved in have either two co-founders or two partners who partner up early in the life of the business. Examples of founding partners including Andrei and Peter (, Keith and Jeff (BigDoor), James and Eric (Fitbit), and Matthew and Cashman (Yesware). Of course there are many other famous founding duos like Steve and Steve (Apple), Jerry and Dave (Yahoo!), Larry and Sergey (Google), and Bill and Paul (Microsoft). My first company (Feld Technologies) had a duo (me and Dave) and the company that bought Feld Technologies did also – Jerry and Len (AmeriData).

But many of the companies I’m involved in have duos that develop over time. Sarah and Rand (Moz). Bre and Jenny (MakerBot). Matt and George (Return Path). David and David (Techstars).

Now, these duos are not the leadership team. But there is a special magic relationship between the duo. I like to think about it like the final fight scene from Mr. and Mrs. Smith where Brad and Angelina are back to back, spinning around in circles, doing damage to the enemy.

This is not just “I’ve got your back, you’ve got my back.” It’s “we are in this together. All in. For keeps.”

It’s just like my relationship with Amy. We are both all in. It’s so powerful – in good times and in bad times.

  • Ann Greenberg

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this too lately; like Batman and Robin… Are the examples you cite equal in terms of power dynamics? Or are they complimentary? Or both? Cheers.

    • Complimentary. Different strengths, different relationships to everyone else, totally all in together.

      • Ann Greenberg

        What happens when investors or management don’t appreciate the duo?

        • You then have a problem!

  • Well…it takes 2 to tango also.
    That’s where all that duo thing started 🙂

  • Completely agree. Socratic process requires two.

  • Linnea Passaler

    You touch a soft spot. As a solo founder, I don’t have a co-founder but I have a couple of different people who played the duo role in different phases of my company in the past 3 years. They had complimentary skills and they were incredibly important for those skills. But the real difference from anybody else in the team was that I could go to them and -well- just show my real self, my fears. They were the ones that I could go to and scream. I owe them a lot and I could not have done it without them.

  • Joel Longtine

    Beautiful. I love this. I’m beginning to realize how this is possible in relationship and see it in my own, as well. That image from Mr. and Mrs. Smith really hits the nail on the head. That is how I want to be partnered with my girlfriend. And I’m seeing it come alive. Too much fun. 🙂