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The truth is emerging
Posted January 27th, 2013 - 11:19 am by from Paris, France (Permalink)
Couchsurfing Co-founder and former CEO Daniel Hoffer Discusses Leadership at the Stanford GSB

http://www.thedishdaily.com/news/2013/01/14/couchsurfing-co-founder-and-former-ceo-daniel-hoffer-discusses-leadership-stanford

A co-founder relationship is like a marriage. You’re going to go through so much together.



By Lindsey Txakeeyang on January 14th, 10:06am PST







Daniel Hoffer,
a current mentor at 500 Startups, stopped by the Graduate School of
Business at noon hour Friday to discuss his experience as co-founder and
former CEO of hospitality network CouchSurfing.

Couchsurfing allows users negotiate informal homestays with others
rather than actually renting rooms. Beyond that the network also offers
travelers the ability to meet locals in a new area for a variety of
activities.



While Hoffer touched on transitioning from a non-profit to for-profit
organization and maintaining the vision of a company, a big chunk of
his conversation was devoted to the dynamics of co-founders.

CouchSurfing was dreamt up by Casey Fenton
who brought Hoffer on board to deal with the business side of the
process. Initially CouchSurfing operated as a nonprofit until 2011 when
they converted to for-profit, accepting $7.6 million of funding from
Benchmark Capital and the Omidyar Network.

According to Hoffer, Fenton was the idealist. “Thinking outside of
the box wasn’t a problem for him because he didn’t even know what the
box looks like,” he said. Fenton wanted CouchSurfing to stand the test
of time and to become a social movement. The goal of CouchSurfing was
not to make money. It was about making the world a little bit smaller
and more trusting.

Hoffer, on the other hand, had always been for-profit from the very
beginning. When they first started, he made sure to write up a contract
between the two of them that detailed what would happen if CouchSurfing
were to ever go for-profit, as he suspected it one day would.

While they had opposing views on the profit side of things, Hoffer
said he and Fenton worked out well because they didn’t overlap very
much. “It was like yin and yang,” he said—a healthy and productive
process.

Hoffer believes having too many MBAs as co-founders is a risk because
they’re all taught to think the same way. A good combination would be
an MBA and an engineer, like Hoffer and Fenton.

“A co-founder relationship is like a marriage. You’re going to go
through so much together,” Hoffer said. “It needs to be very strong,
especially when investors get involved and things start happening.”

Posted January 27th, 2013 - 8:01 pm from Venice, Italy
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Posted February 1st, 2013 - 10:21 pm from Muenster, Germany
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Posted February 2nd, 2013 - 12:54 am by from Sevilla, Spain (Permalink)
Thank you so much Polyglot for the article. I finally know a bit more about how things exactly went. So sad to read about CS in that perspective.
I still meet a lot of CSers, go to meeting and activities, and people are still great. Just too bad some people had the need to make money with other people's dream.

Posted February 2nd, 2013 - 9:57 am by from Paris, France (Permalink)
The interesting part is the admission that they had planned for the privatization from the beginning, while making members and volunteers believe that this could never happen. How they made sure that it actually would happen is detailed here:

http://couchwiki.org/en/CouchSurfing_%22conversion%22_issues

This all happened while Hoffer was chairman of the board of directors. If he had a contract which defined how he would benefit from the looting of the CS assests, that seems like a clear conflict of interest.

Post removed.
Posted February 3rd, 2013 - 2:19 pm by from Paris, France (Permalink)
This post has been removed by the user.

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Posted February 5th, 2013 - 3:17 pm from Barcelona, Spain
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