Lessons from 10 years of Building Startups
Most startups fail because they missed some of these lessons
I’m a 3x founder and 2x startup operator. Here are some learnings and observations along the way.
- Product or engineering, sales or recruiting, business or operations, no matter what part of the startup organization you belong to, it’s a roller coaster. There are good days and there are not so good days.
- What worked for me is remembering the little wins in those “not so good days.” Bookmark your wins. Put them on the wall. You are going to need them. Remember, staying up is easier than getting up.
- Every successful startup has a beginning and an exit, both are exciting. It is the messy middle that’s the longest and the hardest.
- Most failed startups have one thing in common, they didn’t survive the messy middle. When you stay on the course and course correct as you learn, success is inevitable.
- Startup ride is never smooth and it’s full of turbulence: some challenging, some exciting, some exhausting. If you are feeling exhausted, take a moment, take a day off, rest and recharge. For the startup to be its best, you need you to be your best.
- Startups going after hard problems will need time and the journey is bumpier along the way. Some of it will hurt, some of it will be a thrill. And eventually, it’ll be bigger than any one in the team.
- Success in startups is not necessarily only the financial upside. Of course, it is one of the drivers for entrepreneurs and it is also not 100% certain. What is certain is the opportunity to play a key role in shaping a better future with people with similar ambitions. It’s the opportunity to come back every morning, knowing your work matters, especially when yesterday was a tough day.
- Traction solves everything: Product, Sales, People, Runway. When you have it, aim to keep it.
- Speed. One of the most important startup superpowers. Don’t just move fast and break things. But be thoughtful. Bias for action over process. Impatient with action and patient with results.
- Focus. New startup brings several possibilities but you have to be focussed. Often, we take ten steps in ten directions when what we really need is ten steps in one direction. We can’t do everything we want, but we can do anything we want.
Today is brutal, tomorrow is more brutal, but the day after tomorrow is beautiful. Let’s look forward to the beautiful day.
If this piece resonated with you, I share my thoughts, learning, and observations on Twitter!
That’s all for today! If you enjoyed this, follow me.