Startup Killers

In my observation, startups fail way before they run out of money. Running out of money is just the period of a long run-on sentence in a company’s history. Aside from this financial ending, there are a lot of items that kill startups: many out of the hands of founders, employees, and investors. Timing, market dynamics, and regulatory environment changes are just a couple of these killers outside of our control.

However, there are quite a few cultural items that will destroy your company from the inside out…items that are almost entirely in our control. I’ve seen a couple of these items creep into teams I’ve led during my career, and I thought I’d write about them here as a precaution to anyone reading.

In no particular order, here’s the list, along with a link to the detailed post as they’re written.

  1. Hype-Driven Everything.
  2. Challenging Everything.
  3. Challenging Nothing.
  4. Leading by Comparison.
  5. Not Iterating.
  6. Acting in Self-Preservation.
  7. Acting With Self-Entitlement.
  8. Organizational ADHD
  9. Pretending to Be Something You’re Not (or Not Yet)
  10. Prioritizing Intelligence Over Wisdom.

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