Sibling Co-founders on National Sibling Day
Last week I attended the Y Combinator Female Founders Conference in San Francisco and went to dinner afterward with about 15 other attendees (badass women building badass stuff). We went around the table and each shared what we’re working on. When my turn came, I stated that for a little over a year, I have been working on Dangle, a task management service/app for families, and one of my co-founders is my older brother. Everyone at the table either grimaced or widened their eyes in disbelief. One of them asked how it was working with family, and I explained that it is the best working relationship I’ve ever had. I worked in corporate America at two of the largest financial institutions in the world, but neither of those roles comes close to #startuplife and working with my brother.
I am the 2nd oldest of 4, and my brother, Laramie, is 5 years my senior. We were pretty close growing up, despite him perfecting WWE moves by practicing them on me (without my consent). Like most little sisters, I wanted to do everything my brother did. Thanks to him, I am an expert at Duck Hunt, Mario Kart, 007, Street Fighter, Crash Bandicoot, and many other video games. I started watching wrestling because he did (our parents didn’t buy my blaming him when I got an in-school suspension for calling someone a “roody-poo candy ass” in 5th grade lol). After a while, instead of wanting to be like him, it became my mission to beat him… better grades, more basketball scholarship offers, pretty much anything that bragging rights could be attached to.
He left to go attend the US Naval Academy when I was entering 9th grade, and was deployed in the Middle East and Europe until I was 22 (he did make it to my undergrad graduation, which I was really excited about). When we were both finally back in Dallas, we were able to re-connect by hanging out at brunches, family get togethers, parties, clubs, etc. He helped edit my resume, let me borrow his car when mine ran out of gas, paid for my drinks when we would go out, gave me his professional tips when I got my first sales job… all of the things big brothers are supposed to do.
When the idea for Dangle was born, I jumped at the opportunity to work on it with him, and it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I can speak my mind without feeling embarrassed or silly. We can be brutally honest with each other and not take it personally. He has known me all of my life, I have known him most of his… the trust that comes with that is incomparable. I know what he’s good at, where he can improve, and what makes him tick, and vice versa. The competitiveness that we’ve always had lets us push each other to be and do our absolute best, which Dangle will benefit from in so many ways.
Some people say that they “could never work with family,” but luckily for me, there is no one else I would rather work with as a first time entrepreneur.
“Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring quite often the hard way.” ― Pamela Dugdale