Here’s a simple rule for determining whether someone you’re dealing with is actually a partner or not.

Because everyone we do business with wants you to see them as a partner. And guess what, that’s tactically an interesting move if you someone to keep buying from you.

But the rule, for me, is that: “someone’s only a partner if they tell you what margin they make”.

Non-technology founders will always end up going out there to outsource various things they need, from my side as a CTO, build their version 1 MVP, but also in other disciplines early-stage businesses also need outsource marketing and other business development activities.

But these people aren’t “partners” because they are not going to tell you how much profit they are making out of the engagement with you. It’s a customer/supplier relationship.

This isn’t a bad thing per se, but “partnership” is a term that more properly fits for joint-venture exercises, or for your co-founder/co-founders.