Seek contact with reality, early and often

There was an interesting question on Quora the other day: What are the early symptoms that a startup is going to fail?

There were a variety of answers, some funny, some insightful, some both:

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 6.30.32 PM

William Pietri provided a superb answer that is worth reading in full.  Here’s his top 10 reasons/symptoms a startup is going to fail:

  1. No demonstrated user need.
  2. Fear of testing hypotheses. 
  3. No love for the audience.
  4. No love for the domain.
  5. No love for the team.
  6. A desire for perfection.
  7. Not thinking about revenue.
  8. Caring too much about what other people think.
  9. Being in it for the wrong reasons.
  10. A high Dunning-Kruger quotient.

One piece of wisdom that particularly resonated based on personal experience <sigh>

“If a startup team doesn’t seek contact with reality early and often, they will have a bunch of surprises in store. It hurts to find out your ideas are dumb, so you have to really want to know the truth more than you want to feel comfortable.”


About brendansterne

Sr Director, Product Incubator
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