Meeting a cofounder

I am meeting a potential co-founder who I think could be a very good fit for my startup as he has a very commercial background. He also has seed funding. He has already mentioned that it would make most sense for him to act as CEO and me as CTO as I am more technical. However, I do not want to give up CEO and I want a more experienced developer CTO. How do I negotiate this? Is there a sensible way to have joint co-founders share decisions. Or do we put of this decision until further down the line? If he provides seed funding, I am worried he will just take over everything.

Hi Michele, I recommend being very direct and clear about what you want in regards to your roles, and anything else that comes up. Look at this conversation as a way to observe how the two of you communicate with each other and how you will be able to resolve differences.The best co-founder relationships that I've been in are where we can all state what is really on our minds, even if the other person disagrees. You will also want to have a mechanism in place for how you make decisions. That could depend upon how much equity each of you have. When I had a 50/50 partner, who was my husband, we agreed on neutral 3rd party people to be our tie breakers for when we didn't agree on important decisions. This meeting will be very important as it will set the tone for your relationship. If you're worried that he will take over everything, I'd lay that out there and use this time to establish your power so that you don't get railroaded. Remember that you don't need to agree to anything at your first meeting. You can share what you want, listen to him, and then take the time to think things through before you agree to terms. Co-founder relationships must be honest and open and you can only control your part of the conversation while you observe how this potential co-founder communicates and reacts. I coach founders through things like this -- feel free to schedule a time if you'd like to talk it through
Thanks so much Diane. This was very useful. I found I could easily say what was on my mind, but I think we were fundamentally mis matched in our vision. I find it so hard to find cofounders
Diane's answer is perfect. Would just add that you have to trust your gut! Co-founders are like dating. Can you picture yourself happily with this person for 8 years? Do you trust them? Do you share the same values? Ask all the hard questions up front. Also, there is a world where you could be CTO and hire a very experienced technical person to report to you. But if you agree to that, you should be really clear on how much influence you have on decisions as a co-founder.
That was my intuition. I'm technical enough to direct someone more skilled than me. This is really good to read after my meeting as i was struggling between my heart and brain (heart/gut says mismatch in values, long term issues) brain days good experience maybe adds value. But ultimately my gut says no, it's not quite right. Good to hear I should listen to that