12 Lessons on Closing Down Your Idea

Semi-anonymized (but brutally honest) lessons from three top entrepreneurs


Evan Baehr
Ofo Ezeugwu
Sebastián León

Lesson 1: Two founders is the best number of founders (not one, not three, and most definitely not five).

Lesson 2: Companies die for two reasons: you either give up or run out of money.

Lesson 3: Don’t be too fast when bringing on teammates.

Lesson 4: Believe what customers do, not what they say.

Lesson 5: Cultivate deep relationships with your investors.

Lesson 6: Limit what you offer.

Lesson 7: Your 2–3 sentence pitch needs to make sense.

Lesson 8: Friends don’t always give “honest” feedback.

Lesson 9: Starting with the technology first rather than problem first is a bad idea.

Lesson 10: In-house talent reigns over outsourced consultants.

Lesson 11: Don’t start a company with someone you wouldn’t want to hang out with.

Lesson 12: Try to understand your gut feelings.



This is an experiment. We interview entrepreneurs about difficult topics and record their war stories and lessons learned. You get to know exactly who is part of the advice pool but not exactly who said what, so that they can be brutally honest.

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Brian Truong

2x VC-backed founder. GP at Graph Ventures. Previously at Blackstone and Bessemer | Harvard and Thiel Fellowship. truongbrian.com