~99% of Startups Fail… But, WHY?!? [ThoughtsOnStartups.com]

All 14 of the columns above (and 100+ more!) available by request: Jeff@StartupWhatever.com (particularly if you want to run them in Forbes or Inc or Entrepreneur or… wherever!)


Pervasive PROBLEMS & Prominent PITFALLS:

1) Lack of Self-Awareness in Founders…

Most people have a GREAT level of self-awareness when it comes to the ability to play the piano or pilot an airplane… But I believe many entrepreneurs have a terrible level of self-awareness — particularly when it comes to evaluating their ideas, vision, strategy, likelihood of product-market-fit and/or overall likelihood of startup success… [To Be Continued]

2) Mis-Matched Skill-Sets Among Co-Founders…

[Preview] Startups are HARD. But they become HARDER with the wrong people working on the wrong things! Why would you think you’ll be the ~1% to succeed if you don’t (as quickly as possible) have GREAT people working on what they’re GREAT at?! [To Be Continued]

3) Problems Stemming from WORDS & DEFINITIONS:

What is a Startup?? What makes you an Entrepreneur??
[Spoiler Alert: There are very few (if any) blogs, podcasts, advice, or “best-practices” that are intended for BOTH: “Startup A” (a pair of bootstrapping co-founders, working from co-working “hot desks”, on their pre-launch MVP) AND “Startup B” (a 30-employee B2B SaaS company with 7-figure ARR, raising an 8-figure Series B round, at a 9-figure valuation, with aspirations of being a billion-dollar unicorn).
Are they both startups?? Yeah, I guess so — but in the same sense that an ice cube and the Atlantic Ocean are both water? [To Be Continued]


EVERY STARTUP is different, EVERY ENTREPRENEUR is unique, and there is NOTHING (said/written by me — or Tim Ferris or Gary V. or whomever!) that can possibly be applied to EVERYONE in EVERY SITUATION.

4) “Success” vs. “Failure” & FUQ! (Frequently UN-asked Questions)

Spoiler Alert: It’s NOT as obvious a distinction as you’d think!
A) aim for ~$25M, but hit $2.5M?
B) aim for $250K, but hit $2.5M?
Spoiler Alert: A = $2.5M and B = $2.5M but A ≠ B
(wait, what?) — [Full Column Soon]

A Plethora of Problems & Pitfalls Pertaining to: “IDEAS!”

5) “There’s no such thing as a bad [xxxx]
Wait… What?? SERIOUSLY?!? If you wouldn’t say that about a “logo”, a “website”, an “app”, a “sales call”, or an “investor pitch”, then WHY do we say it about “IDEAS”?!? [To Be Continued]

6) Why (the F***) does every Entrepreneurship class or Startup Weekend or Hackathon orHow To Build A Startup” class start with: “STEP 1: Everyone come up with an idea.”
[To Be Continued]

7) Yes, of course it is “Theoretically Possible” for a successful startup to come from anywhere/anyone… but it is much more “Statistically Probable” when you have GREAT people doing the things they are GREAT at… And, just like coding and graphic design are skills (that some people are significantly better at than others), different types of THINKING are also skills (that some are significantly better at than others!) — creative-thinking, strategic-thinking, critical-thinking… and ideation (idea creation & evaluation!)

8) Not all “ideas” are created equal(ly)*See below for an intro to the difference between a regular “idea” and what has been dubbed an IDEA+++by ViralWhatever.com (creators of 50+ Viral Ventures, each reaching over a million people and collectively engaging ~495 MILLION people)
*P.S. That “(ly)” is very intentional — as we believe both “that the quality of ideas are (obviously?) not all equal” but also “that the processes of creating those ideas (and the skill/talent/ability levels of the idea creators)” can often be as different as apples and orangutans…

* Note: Replace “Viral potential” (above) with “Product-Market-Fit” for when virality is not necessarily a goal.

8B) For those that say “Ideas are Shit & Execution is Everything”, I would love for you to consider changing that to “MOST Ideas are Shit & Execution is Extremely Important”… because, I assure you, most of ANYTHING would have a reputation for being shit (coding? design? music?) if EVERYONE was encouraged to continue doing it with no regard for talent or skill… [Please ask me about this if we ever meet — it’s one of my favorite topics to discuss!]

9) “What are you GREAT at?!? Figure it out and DO MORE of THAT!!!”

[Several sports examples/analogies lessons — Coming Soon] TEASERS:
A) Michael Jordan: Basketball career vs. Baseball career…
B) Why it doesn’t matter if Bill Belichick can’t throw or catch — or that Tom Brady is slow and sucks at blocking and tackling… [full column soon]

10) Optimistic vs. Pessimistic? Positive vs. Negative? [WAIT! What about Realistic?! and Objective?!]

… and why those “Never Give Up!” and “Winners Never Quit!” motivators can potentially do more harm than good! [full column soon]
In Sports, “NEVER Give Up” is often MINUTES… In the real world, “NEVER Give Up” is… F***ing FOREVER!?!

11) RISK-TAKING: To Celebrate? Or To Mitigate?

Successful entrepreneurs are often characterized as “Risk-Takers” — and we all love those success stories of BIG RISK & BIG REWARD! But…
A) is the Success BECAUSE of the Risk?
what about the 99% of UNsuccessful Entrepreneurs? weren’t they Risk-Takers too??
C) but Forbes doesn’t often cover the ~99% where Big Risk is followed by Big Failure… so the natural tendency for Startups/Entrepreneurs to Succeed Publicly / Fail Privately = Causation/Correlation Confusion!!
[Full Column]

I always see photos of sad people sitting in front of brick walls. I can only conclude that brick walls must make people sad. #CorrelationVsCausation

12) The problems/pitfalls of using OUTLIERS as benchmarks…

Try to remember:
For every AWESOME (inspirational!) story of success that you hear, remember there are HUNDREDS (if not thousands?) of AWFUL (depressing!) stories of failure that you’ll never hear…

13) Funding Frustrations?

Spoiler Alert:
MOST investments (in pre-revenue startups) are BAD investments!

14) YOUR Assumptions, Beliefs, Confidence [#ABC?] — about YOUR Startup — can (unfortunately) NOT be taken as OBJECTIVE or reliable (because EVERY ENTREPRENEUR feels that strongly about THEIR STARTUP!)

P.S. A lot of this makes for good discussion/debate for PODCAST content — But, alas, I will likely never get around to starting my own Podcast… Sooo, if you want to invite me on YOUR Podcast to discuss (or debate!) any of our Thoughts/Theories or Ideas for Improvement, please do! jeff@StartupWhatever.com
Yes, of course “Startups Are Hard” — but there are things we can do to dramatically increase the current success/fail rates if we start thinking (and re-thinking?) more strategically and identifying / addressing some common Problems & Pitfalls (and #StatusQuoBias)… Because simply repeating all the same practices and processes of countless failed startups/entrepreneurs before us (and yet somehow hoping for different/better results?) sounds pretty close to Einstein’s(?) definition of INSANITY!
So, what do we recommend instead? Click Here for ReThinkingStartups.com!

Click to Continue (ReThinkingStartups.com)


Entrepreneurial Epiphanies & Lessons Learned + Thoughts & Theories Pertaining to Problems & Pitfalls + Innovative Improvement Initiatives → → 19 “STARTER STARTUPS” IN 2019?! (Pitching for PART-TIME Partners!) - P.S. Talk to us if you're interested/intrigued by ANY of our stuff!

“ReThinking Startups”

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JOIN US in ReThinking Startups / ReThinking WHATEVER! LAUNCH & LEARN! New Products, Content, Marketing, Side Hustles, STARTER STARTUPS! info@StartupWhatever.com


Entrepreneurial Epiphanies & Lessons Learned + Thoughts & Theories Pertaining to Problems & Pitfalls + Innovative Improvement Initiatives → → 19 “STARTER STARTUPS” IN 2019?! (Pitching for PART-TIME Partners!) - P.S. Talk to us if you're interested/intrigued by ANY of our stuff!

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