Fabian Pfortmüller on What Qualities to Seek in a Business Partner

In Chapter 13 of 15 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, community builder and entrepreneur Fabian Pfortmüller answers "What Makes a Good Business Partner?"  To Pfortmüller, it comes down to trust and to love.  He shares the importance of having workplace chemistry, being able to resolve conflicts meaningfully, and maintaining kindness and respect toward one another.  Pfortmüller is co-founder of the young leader accelerator, Sandbox Network, and HOLSTEE, an apparel and design firm that sells meaningful products to mindful shoppers.  Pfortmüller graduated from Columbia University and its school of General Studies. 


Erik Michielsen: What makes a good business partner?

Fabian Pfortmüller: I’ve been incredibly fortunate with the people I’ve worked with and I think I put a lot of focus and attention to the people I’ve worked with. It’s so important to me. In one word I would summarize it with trust. You know, it’s people that I completely 100% trust but even more so -- I think I would even use the word love.

It’s quite an extreme thing to use I guess in the business context but I admire those people. I'm so fortunate to be working with Dave and Mike at HOLSTEE. I've been so fortunate to have founded Sandbox with Nico and the others because I can learn from them every single day. I admire their values and I completely trust them. And I think that makes really good business partners. And I don’t know if you know this but Dave, Mike and I we actually live together. We live in the same apartment. We love hanging out and it’s not hard to work together and at the same time it’s not to say that we don’t have conflicts.

We have, you know, we fight but I would say we fight in a friendly way and we fight in a way where we respect each other, where we keep each other’s interest, I think, in mind, where we try to understand what is the other person is trying to say and yeah, we try to be friendly to each other. I think that makes a huge difference. And also one thing about business partners I think we can really just take time off and we don’t have to talk about work and just be easy just hanging in California for a week -- it doesn’t matter.