Couple in business, closer than partner, less than lover

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Someone just told me it somehow bothers him to invest in those business run by couple. Business should not be mixed with family. I laughed and suddenly reminisced one particular couple-cofounders I encountered in the past. Actually the two got themselves arrested a while ago. I had known they walked on thin ice and played in gray area, not morally wrong, but legally risky. Nevertheless the deals they operated on had market demand and often generated millions of RMB profits annually.

Aside from their tragic ending, the two were in fact the perfect example of how couple sometimes would work much efficient than regular partnership.

My friend, who also knew this couple, asked me this question before “How possibly could a man love a woman like her, much older than him, without any physical or carnal attraction?

I said: “While the husband was focusing on seeking the clients and negotiating deals, the wife supervised in-house management and financial controls. When the smartest employee in the firm failed to solve a thorny issue, the husband discussed with the wife and often the woman would come up something outside of the box. Man might love beauty, but he loves money more. For a self-made man, this woman proved herself indispensable.”

Then I also recalled another “copreneurs”. The man had worked as an engineer for a textile factory, but was laid off one day. No job, no income, no longer able to support the family, his first wife eventually filed a divorce, and even taught his only son to cast a scornful look at the father. During his most devastated moment, he met a woman who not only a divorcee but also a veteran in textile machine industry; this became the turning point of his fate.

Therefore the man married again, and the second wife encouraged him to open a company. The woman invested her own RMB200,000 savings, while the man borrowed RMB200,000 from his relatives. He relied on his knowledge of textile machinery, manufactured and assembled them in small village factories, and sold them to clients even from Europe. Now the couple already achieved a robust turnover of over 10 million RMB annually.

It is said the man is more likely to pass the company to his stepson in future, rather than his own son who had in fact come back to him and tried to beg his forgiveness. Must be a difficult decision to disinherit his only son, I suppose.

All in all, I think we should be more open-minded toward couple co-founders. Couple-run startups, if the two cooperate well, with the perfect balance of Yin and Yang, might achieve more outstanding results. After all behind every successful man, there is a woman, and sometimes she is also on the center of the stage. And the common traits among these couple cofounders are psychologically mature, maintain cool head and often lack of intense romanticism.


Cecilia Wu

A witty, nutty and frosty writer who hopes to jot down moments of inspiration from her daily life

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