As the saying goes, “the only ship that doesn’t sail is a partnership.” As other folks have mentioned, finding the right co-founder is a critical decision, similar to a marriage. Unfortunately, I think most people make the decision purely based on skill set, ignoring the other elements of their design. The first step in finding a co-founder is to understand your own design (personality, likes, abilities and values). By understanding how you are wired (personality), what you enjoy (likes), what you are good at (abilities), and what drives your actions (values), you can better understand what you bring to the table. Next, you need to understand WHY you are starting a business in the first place. In The Founder’s Dilemma, Noam Wasserman cites research that shows that the primary reasons why entrepreneurs start companies are money and power. There is also a growing number of conscious entrepreneurs who are pursuing a purpose beyond profit. Once you understand your design and what is driving you to launch a company, you’re now ready to identify the gaps necessary to get your startup going. Think through all aspects of individual design and create personas of likely people you might find. Make sure you don’t ignore values because when the going gets tough common values are the only things that can hold you together.
Lastly, identify “watering holes” where people with designs similar to your personas will hang out. For instance, if you are looking for a gifted CTO, think about where those types of people will hang out. What are the likely conferences, clubs, schools, etc. where you can find such people? Lastly, I want to encourage you to take your time to find the RIGHT people. There is an extreme bias towards speed in the startup world, but finding the right co-founders is something that really should not be rushed.