Episode 22: A Startup Executive Psychologist On Navigating Cofounder Conflict with Dr. Matthew Jones

Jul 4, 2023 | podcast | 0 comments

Subscribe:  Apple Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  Amazon music |  RSS

You can find the full transcript for this episode at the bottom of this page

Successfully navigating cofounder conflict is an important, yet often overlooked, topic which directly impacts the success and sustainability of startups. When conflicts arise between cofounders, it can disrupt the entire organization’s functioning and hinder progress. Startups are already operating in high-pressure environments, with limited resources and tight timelines. In such circumstances, the presence of unresolved conflicts among cofounders can exacerbate stress levels, create a toxic work environment, and impede effective decision-making. 

Understanding and addressing cofounder conflict allows entrepreneurs to proactively mitigate the risks associated with internal tensions, foster healthy relationships, and optimize their chances of achieving their business objectives.

This week on the show I’m introducing you to an expert on the topic of navigating cofounder conflict. Dr. Matthew Jones is a startup executive psychologist and coach to entrepreneurs. He’s worked with founders backed by many of the big-name VCs like Y Combinator, Sequoia, Andreessen Horowitz, and more. He specializes in helping cofounding teams improve their communication, teamwork, and decision-making. 

In this episode we explore what Matt has found drives much of the conflict amongst cofounding teams, how he helps his clients to navigate these challenges, and more.

One thing that I find very frustrating is this myth that the most successful teams just never fight. They’re just a perfect match. This is a myth perpetuated by the VC ecosystem and other folks, and it’s an oversimplification. Conflict is ubiquitous, it’s everywhere. It’s just how it’s managed that makes all the difference.

Be sure to download Matt’s free e-book, “Stop Cofounder Conflict” here.

What You’ll Learn in this Episode:

  • The opportunity Matt had in grad school that ignited his passion for working with startup cofounders
  • The common causes he observes behind cofounder conflict and the importance of “speaking the same language” as your cofounders
  • Why avoiding talking through disagreements isn’t the answer to navigating cofounder conflict and what to do instead
  • Why cofounding teams who are friends are often more unstable than companies that are founded by strangers or former colleagues
  • The common challenges faced by cofounding teams that reach out to Matt for support and how he supports them
  • The importance of working with a professional who is culturally competent when it comes to the startup ecosystem
  • What to take into consideration and the conversations to have when you’re in the early stages of building your cofounding team

Find Matt Online:

Resources & Inspiration from the Show

* * * * * *

About Founders’ Fears & Failures and your host, Dr. Melissa Parks

Melissa is an entrepreneur, former therapist (PhD in Clinical & Health Psychology), and an executive coach for entrepreneurs with a special focus on startup founders. Her passion for supporting startup founders in particular began after witnessing firsthand the emotional rollercoaster her husband experienced as a startup co-founder.

She started the Founders’ Fears & Failures podcast with the mission of shining a light on the mental and emotional challenges that come with life as a startup founder. Having lived abroad for 10 years herself she realizes how much we can learn from hearing stories from around the globe which is why the show doesn’t focus on a country-specific startup ecosystem.

Melissa is also the co-founder of the Location Independent Therapist Community, and a mom to a toddler who keeps her on her toes, and fuels her passion for helping to make the world a better place.

If you are interested in coming on the show, please get in touch. We would love to hear your story.

Want to connect further? Get in touch with Melissa on social media:

Want to work with Melissa?

Melissa is a former therapist who provides mindset coaching for ambitious professionals around the globe. Schedule your free discovery call HERE.

* * * * * *

Did you enjoy listening to this episode? Leave your review on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

Disclaimer: The Founders’ Fears & Failures is for educational, informational, and entertainment purposes only. It is not meant to be used for personal health advice and should not be construed to constitute personal or professional consultation or guidance, or to replace medical or mental health treatment. The opinions expressed by this podcast, including the podcast guests, are not meant to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of a medical or mental health provider regarding any questions or concerns you have about your medical and/or mental health needs. If you are in crisis, please visit this website to find a list of suicide hotlines around the globe. 

Episode Transcript


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


I'm a therapist-turned-coach who loves working with clients around the world! I work with the globally mobile community to support them through transitions as well as entrepreneurs who need support navigating the rollercoaster of entrepreneur life.

I'm also the co-founder of the Location Independent Therapists (LIT) Community, a mom, a self-compassion advocate, and an aspiring author.