RE: A new venture
I've had to fire people since I was 15, working for my father. Not an easy thing for a 115 lb. stringbean to lay off a big bricklayer. That being said, over the years I've come to agree with your gazillionaire buddy. Once you have that bad feeling about someone in the pit of your stomach, pull the trigger. It's like the old saying about the best deals you ever made were the ones you walked away from.
When I do have to fire someone (and I'm not talking about a spur of the moment, outraged thing, like finding a guy walking out with a couple of rax of lamb in his bookbag) I find that the important thing is not to make it personal. My buddy used to have to work himself up into a frenzy of manufactured, and largely groundless, hatred for the prospective firee, which was always obvious and made everyone resent my buddy.
What I try to do is get the person in my office, or in the walkin box, someplace private. I say something like "Sorry, Pete, but this just isn't working out for either of us. I'm going to have to make a change. Nothing personal, Pete; I wish you the best of luck in your next gig." It's important, in these litigious days, to avoid giving the person you're firing ANY little bit of grounds for a suit. Don't say that he/she was incompetent, or had body odor, or anything else that you can't PROVE beyond a shadow of a doubt (e.g., show that the person was repeatedly late by producing his time card). And never mention race, age, size, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc, unless you have the burning desire to buy your lawyer a new Benz.