If you are going to launch a startup, how many friends would you need?
Once in a while, I always like to research and take down some "useless statistics", which probably doesn't have any real meaning, but interesting to waste time at. And here is one of them.
I have always been curious as to how many people does it take to "found" a successful company. So I decide to dig up some pretty shallow info on big name companies and their founders, and find the average number of founders among those companies. The list simply contains just companies which are started by individuals, not a subsidy of another corporation (e.g. Alta Vista). Although they could eventually be acquired by other companies.
Here is the list in no particular order, and the list is quite random.
|Microsoft||Bill Gates, Paul Allen||2|
|Sergey Brin, Larry Page||2|
|Youtube||Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, Jawed Karim||3|
|Yahoo!||Jerry Yang, David Filo||2|
|Overture (formerly Goto.com)||Bill Gross||1|
|PayPal||Peter Thiel,Max Levchin||2|
|Skype||Niklas Zennström, Janus Friis||2|
|Kazaa||Niklas Zennström, Janus Friis||2|
|Hotmail||Sabeer Bhatia, Jack Smith||2|
|Ask.com||Garrett Gruener, David Warthen||2|
|Excite||Graham Spencer, Joe Kraus, Mark Van Haren, Ryan McIntyre, Ben Lutch, Martin Reinfried||6|
|Lycos||Dr. Michael Mauldin||1|
|Apple||Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ronald Wayne||3|
|MySpace||Tom Anderson, Chris DeWolfe||2|
|Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes||3|
|Netscape||Marc Andreessen, Jim Clark||2|
|AOL||William von Meister||1|
|Mirabilis (which engineered ICQ)||Yair Goldfinger, Arik Vardi, Sefi Vigiser, Amnon Amir||4|
So it looks like chance of success is definitely better with a team of two. I think two is a good number -- it's easy to collaborate and get things done. A single phone call would be sufficient to get both stakeholders in touch with each other. In addition, two-person team would not take up too much space as well, which makes either a single-car or two-car garage an ideal place to setup office, conference room, server racks, and so on. That's what I call flexibility.
This sort of puts new perspective into the old saying, "Two heads are better than one", doesn't it. :)