9 Cataclysmic Ways to Make Your Tech Startup Fail

Vitalii Duk
Aug 1 · 4 min read
How I failed in my tech startup — and how you can do it too.

Building a startup is one of the easiest things you can do.

But failing your startup?

That takes willful ignorance and a complete lack of insightful direction.

And frankly, just not everyone’s cut out for that kinda hustle.

I was lucky enough to have the non-existent expertise to push through my better judgment and completely and utterly fail my fashion tech startup last year.

Now I’m ready to be internet-vulnerable and pass on some very legitimate advice…

And show you how you, too, can be a complete and utter startup failure.

Okay.

Here goes something.

1. Have Only Technical Co-Founders

Yes, you could do the smart thing and have a balanced mix of technical and non-technical leadership…

But c’ mon, where’s the fun in that?

So, the key is to make sure all your founders are tech guys.

They can easily learn all the business stuff they need to know on YouTube or whatever and besides, even if you had someone with the business skills, how would you communicate in anything other than Python? Is it even fun talking to someone who can’t take a derivative?

People will tell you to change your course on this, but you keep going.

Ignore the haters.

2. Rush the Product Build

There are three keys to your product after you formulate a basic idea:

· Don’t waste time thinking about your business plan, marketing strategy, or future profitability

· Build code, code all night long, what are we coding for, I dunno, but keep going

· Speak with your potential (read: potentially non-existent) customers later on

Yeah, this is just how the Facebook guys did it!

3. Don’t Worry About Your Legal Setup

Seriously, chill. Legal schmegal. You need to stop worrying about it.

A shareholders’ or IP assignment agreement with friends or former colleagues?

Easy peasy.

Use the lawyer’s money to chat about these definitely-not-acrimonious details over a pint of beer.

At the end of the day, what could possibly go wrong?

4. Equity

You may be tempted to give up some equity for advisors, developers, digital marketing experts, or, well, anyone who may be looking to join your startup in the early stages to help you accelerate towards success but…

IGNORE THEM.

They are greedy. They will only help you grow fast.

And you sure as heck don’t need any of that. No, sir.

Let the greed fuel you, let it fail you.

While 2% of zero equity is still zero, it’s your zero. You made that failed startup baby completely on your own and will reap the rock-bottom rewards of a year-long depression post-fail because of it.

You’re the founders, you have the idea — and you know better than anyone already in the market.

So keep that equity all to yourselves.

5. Details

Worry over every. Last. One.

Every button? Perfectly aligned.

Search bar? That is too long. Fix it. Miss that deadline.

Even if this slows you down… sets you off course… puts you into bankruptcy…

Keep going. Be the perfectionist you want to see in the world.

6. Metrics

Only measure something that looks impressive, like app installs, rather than DAUs and retention.

If the sign-ups leave or aren’t engaged…

All good. :)

Investors won’t be asking questions, anyway — they’re only looking to burn money.

We don’t need good metrics where we’re going.

7. Take Your Time

Building and iterating fast to be first to market is for schmucks.

Startup schmucks who succeed.

You definitely don’t want to be one of those, so be sure to take your time and not worry about if someone else is building and releasing a similar product to yours.

8. Stick to Your Core Skills

Software engineers were born to code — not to worry about kinda-crucial things like digital marketing and startup strategy.

But in a lean startup environment that requires all hands on business development, coding, and pitching, it’s best to not learn anything else outside of your scope.

Instead, keep your head down stubbornly and watch it all burn.

9. Tunnel Vision

Ah, yes. Operating with blinders on — my favorite tip.

If you created a startup around your own problem — not the market’s — and see warning signs, or don’t even bother looking for any until you’ve built a product, you’re doing it all right.

And I just want to say how proud I am of you for failing.

***

Know any other best practices to help fail a startup? Share your “expertise” below.

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