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daily articles for founders

What goes wrong with startups  

Jessica Livingston (Jessica Graham?) at YC startup school this year:

We all know that a lot of smart and talented people start startups. You see huge numbers of startups getting started, and yet there are actually only a handful of startups that are big successes. What happens along the way that causes such failure?

Jessica's excellent article covers a number of typical failure modes. Particularly sad to me:

Not making something people want is the biggest cause of failure we see early on. (The second biggest is founder disputes.)

In the age of the lean startup methodology, spending years of your life making something people don't want seems like a shameful and avoidable waste. And yet it still happens, a lot! The lure of a good idea is such that people often don't realise that there are many ways to implement that idea, and that most of them are wrong. So they settle on the first approach, which is usually wrong.

As for the founder disputes thing, it's even more shameful. I'm right now in touch with a startup whose founders are splitting, hard, despite them having a highly successful product on their hand.

In any case, the article is a great introduction to the typical killers that might kill your startup, which you won't know about unless you're already well immersed in the startup culture and experience. Worth a read as a good overview of "things you don't know you don't know".

More from the library:
Three modern organisational structures
Dark patterns: good for business?
How to run an evening event
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