Lessons From My First Startup Failure

It’s been a while since I last posted here, and good reason — I’ve been trying to run a startup! As this is a technically focused blog — and given my startup experiences were mainly commercially focused — I didn’t have all that much to say here. But, now I’ve experienced my first startup failure, I thought I’d write about it here (even though it’s not really technical content).

It has become somewhat customary for entrepreneurs to write about the good times and the bad. In either case — often even more relevant in the case of the bad times — it seems quite useful to share with others the lessons one learnt along the way. So, this is me sharing some of the lessons I learnt during my first startup failure experience. Let’s get on with it.

Be wary of complex dependencies

All startups have an implicit dependency on customers buying their product/service. Any additional dependencies just hugely complicate things. Try to keep as much within your own control as possible.

Take good feedback with a pinch of salt

Identifying a problem is not enough

Be patient before diving in

Make the most of working for larger companies where you can network with those in business areas you are not familiar with. The gaps will be there, you just need to put yourself in the position to see them.

It’s much harder than you could possibly imagine

There is a myth doing the rounds that it’s easier than ever to start a startup. In reality it’s just a cultural mind shift, the actual chances of succeeding are just as low as they have ever been. The ‘anyone can build an app’ delusion is really unhelpful.

And, it will take five times longer to succeed than you probably think it will. Most successful startups have been operating a lot longer than you think they have — you’re facing many years of blood, sweat and tears (and you still might fail).

Also, be willing to acknowledge, therefore, that the idea of running your own business might look much better on paper than it does in reality.

A tech startup is not just about tech

Accordingly, non-techie entrepreneurs shouldn’t feel disadvantaged that they don’t have tech skills. This is not to say that tech isn’t hugely important (I obviously think it is), but it’s not a one-way ticket to success.

Recognise when the game is up

Don’t do it for money

Software engineering nut. Cyclist. Musician. Dog lover

Software engineering nut. Cyclist. Musician. Dog lover