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Adii Pienaar

Now working on Receiptful. Co-Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

An Alternative View on Equal Partnerships

I've previously written about equal (50-50) partnerships in startups and this is something that I hold close to my heart. I have however developed a slightly different view on equal partnerships...

I recently read Jason Cohen's post on sacrificing your health for your startup and thereafter I read his wife's response. I could've potentially had quite a few, valuable take-aways from those two posts, but the thought that kept lingering in my mind was: I probably wouldn't have gotten very far in my professional career if it wasn't for my wife. Let me explain...

My priorities have changed. With a 2-month-old baby in the house, I've had my routines ripped to shreds and my previous priorities questioned. My life has changed, for the good.

During the last 2 months, I've continued to work and have been working on some of the most exciting stuff that I've ever been part of. I haven't been as productive as before and I've had no work routine. But I've generally managed to get things done, with the to do lists ticking over on a regular - albeit slower - basis. There is however no way that I would've been able to do this without my wife. 

See: my wife is amazing. This isn't me playing to gender stereotypes either. She's taken charge of our baby, sacrificed her own job (Jeanne has her own, boutique legal firm) and on top of that, she's managed to "indulge" me during my more difficult times on this startup rollercoaster. When I've been irrational or impulsive, Jeanne has had the time / patience / wisdom to slow me down and knock some (proper) sense into me. She's also been there to celebrate my victories along the way. And most of all, she just "gets" me and understands the awesomeness & challenges that are linked to being an entrepreneur.

She's done all of this whilst in the background there is an actual needy baby that has required so much more of her time & energy.

I don't think the nitty-gritty is important and it's even less important for me to figure out how Jeanne (and other women / wives) do this. All I know is that without Jeanne, I'd mostly be Adii Flopstar. Somewhere within our marriage & relationship, we've found a very unique blend of a partnership. If I had to formalize that on a shareholders agreement of sorts, it would probably look very similar to an equal partnership as we mostly know it.

At the very least, 50% of my success can be contributed to my wife's super-human ability to support, encourage, listen, understand, challenge and coach all at the same time. And then she probably deserves an extra couple percent for being a mom and the CEO of RockstarHQ on top of that.

(If I had to pick another title for this post, it could've been "An Ode to my wife".)

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