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22 Ways To Fail

October 11, 2010

A while back I did a short presentation at Startup BarCamp Sydney on how to most effectively drive your startup into the ground. This list is a mix of things I’ve read, experience from people I’ve spoken to and a little bit of personal opinion. This post has been sitting in my draft for a while as I was going to add more info. But here’s is just the list I used:

– Single founder
– No technical team member

– Refine your business model before you start
– Do in-depth market research
– Write an impressive 40-page business plan with awesome graphs, charts and projections
– Build a “nice to have”
– Be in it for the money
– Stick to your idea no matter what
– Don’t tell anyone about your idea, they will steal it
– Don’t network, it’s a waste of your time

– Seek funding before you start

– Outsource all development
– Don’t quit your day job
– Make it perfect, don’t launch until it is
– Spend lots of development time making sure your app is scalable before you have any traffic
– Add lots of cool features (twitter/facebook integration etc)
– Give up when you hit a barrier

– Don’t talk to your customers until the product is finished
– Assume that when you build it, they will come
– Don’t waste time on your hiring process, any coder will do. If they don’t work out, give them a second chance
– Don’t listen to your customers/users, you already know what they want and need
– Don’t worry about the business model

Keep in mind… this is the perfect recipe for guaranteed FAILURE…. so you might want to try the opposite 🙂

How many of these are you guilty of?


From → Startup Tips

  1. Mei permalink

    Hi Bart, Interesting read.
    With “Do in-depth market research,” where do you stand with the ‘Customer discovery’ process as recommended in the lean startup methodology?

    • What I’m referring to here is doing isolated research. Four weeks of research and analysis on an idea that is probably rubbish to start with. Most successful start-ups end up doing something different from their original plans, so researching it in-depth is probably a waste of time.

      Doing manual testing and trying to sell your product before you’ve even build it on the other hand I think are great ideas! Talk to your potential “customers” asap…

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