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Reading About 25 Failed Startups

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011
Posted in Advice by Joel Gross

Here’s what I learned from reading about 25 failed startups (Thanks for the link Jordan

-make your product simple & easy as possible
-give immediate gratification (even if it is somewhat false)
-never recruit an “outside ceo”
-avoid hiring top execs without experience founding or running a company themselves
-control your expenses like a maniac
-ignore conventional wisdom, do what you think is best
-turn contractors to employees & demand nights & weekends
-you need an awesome awesome team of crazy smart hard workers working cheap
-iterate constantly to improve
-never ever quit
-dont get distracted by small problems/clients
-keep someone around to question my decisions, give feedback, counter decisions
-never bring on outside investors of any kind or give away any ownership or control
-don’t use technologies without significant technical adoption
-location of startup can influence success (go somewhere with startup culture, low costs, like silicon valley)
-paying customers are vital
-extensively research your ideas up front
-tackle market problems not technical problems
-build off open source when possible
-if highly skilled workers give birth to a product and lose control over its direction, they are likely to get frustrated and quit
-locating in a college town provides lower rent & low cost, smart & hungry workforce
-only build “needed” services/products, not “nice to have”
-recurring sales are better than one-off sales
-recognize when to pivot and do it hard & fast
-don’t do something you don’t love
-customer acquisition is most important thing, customer retention second most. never fail at increasing either.
-make sure you have people around you equally as committed
-working remotely is difficult and outsourced people don’t care
-talk to your customers constantly
-stay focused.  side ideas are fun, but will cause problems being successful
-hire carefully- picking the right people is life & death
-don’t build “science projects”, build commercially viable products
-communication between everyone in the company is vital and should be uninhibited as possible
-being frugal is enormously important
-never forget to sell, sell, sell
-sell your ideas before building them
-acquire more partner relatinoships
-don’t blame the economy for your failures or anything outside yourself
-get real legal advice on contracts
-buzzwords are the enemy of real communication

One thought on “Reading About 25 Failed Startups

  1. Good post, brolonel. (That’s colonel with a bro in front of it). (It’s not douchey because he’s my brother).

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