Splitting Nickles: The Key to Developing Strong Partnerships

Mon, Feb 26, 2024

My friend Perry Belcher has a saying that changed how I do business:

“If you’re going to split a nickel with someone, give them 3 cents every time.”

This thinking makes Perry one of the best business partners I’ve ever had.

Now, he’ll be the first to tell you that it’s not a selfless act of altruism. However…


Because he takes this approach with everyone he works with, it makes everyone want to keep working with him and bring him in on future deals.

I remember a podcast where Naval Ravikant told a similar story about someone he regularly works with who always went out of his way to ensure Naval won extra on every deal.

Fast forward a few years, and Naval becomes one of the most famous and visible angel investors ever. He can work with whomever he wants, and mountains of investors follow.

Where do you think he goes? Treating him right and giving him a little extra, in the beginning, cemented Naval’s buddy in a position of trust that now pays dividends.


It sounds simple enough, but it’s far from anyone’s default setting, myself included.

Historically, I’ve treated those types of negotiations like a game.

Because I only work with people I like, it’s always fun. But I’ll work hard to ensure I come out on the winning end of the deal; I assumed everyone does. That is, until I met Perry.

When we partnered, he started pushing wins my way immediately. It changed the dynamic entirely. In fact, it forced me to advocate for him.

Most people can’t just sit there and take. Perry puts people in a position of needing to advocate for him or prove themselves to be selfish jerks. It’s brilliant.


Creating this system of mutual advocacy develops a strong partnership right away.

It kills a lot of the tension most partnerships experience.

And, as Perry is quick to point out, it usually costs very little.

He’s not giving away the farm. He’s just ensuring he always gives a little more than is required.

Have you ever had a partner like Perry?

If so, I’d love to know how it impacted your partnership. How do you deal with someone flipping the script like that?