10+ THOUGHTS & THEORIES (Pertaining to Problems & Pitfalls!)

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

Our “INQUISITIVE 5-YEAR-OLD” Methodology
“Why did your startup fail?”
Well, because we ran out of money… 
“But, WHY?” 
Well, because investors wouldn’t fund us… 
“But, WHY?”
 Well, because we never found Product-Market-Fit… 
“But, WHY?”
Well, I guess some of our assumptions were wrong…
“But, WHY?”
… Well, maybe we were blinded by our entrepreneurial excitement, wishful-thinking, overly-optimistic assumptions, and…

TABLE OF CONTENTS (No Particular Order)

Pervasive PROBLEMS & Prominent PITFALLS:

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

[full column soon]

2) Lack of Self-Awareness in Founders…

[Preview] Most people have a pretty good level of self-awareness when it comes to their abilities to play the piano or pilot an airplane — or how good they are at golf or ice-skating… But I believe many entrepreneurs have a terrible level of self-awareness — particularly when it comes to evaluating their ideas, vision, strategy… and overall likelihood of their startup’s success… [To Be Continued]

3) Many Problems Stemming from WORDS & DEFINITIONS:

What is a Startup?? 
What makes someone an Entrepreneur?? 
And, “Best Practices” — for whom?? 
 [To Be Continued]

A caveat to everything I write is that 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 apply to EVERYONE in EVERY SITUATION!

3B) “Success” vs. “Failure”

[Spoiler Alert: It’s NOT as obvious a distinction as you’d think!]

3C) Would You Rather: A) aim for ~$25M, but hit $2.5M? -or- B) aim for $250K, but hit $2.5M?

Spoiler Alert: A = $2.5M and B = $2.5M but A ≠ B — (wait, what?)


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

4) “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]
5) “Everyone think of an idea…” 
That’s fine in certain situations — particularly for children! Just like every kid takes science classes (even though very few will become scientists) or how every kid is encouraged to play sports (even though a smaller number of kids are good enough to play High School sports, even fewer are great enough to play Collegiate sports, and how many people do you know who are talented enough to be a professional athlete and make it their career?!)… [To Be Continued]
6) Why (the F!) does every Entrepreneurship class or Startup Weekend or Hackathon or “How To Build A Startup” class or blog starts with something like: “STEP 1: Come up with an Idea.” 
[NOTE: If it’s solely for the experience / learning opportunity, then I guess I’m ok with it. But when it’s “FOR REAL”, a startup that you actually want to succeed, that you want others to invest in, that you want to dedicate your own time/money/life to?? Well, the “everybody think of an idea” mindset is, in my opinion, a big part of why ~99% of startups fail!]
7) Not all “ideas” are created equal(ly?)… The difference between a regular “idea” and what ViralWhatever.com has dubbed an “IDEA+++”
* Note: Replace “Viral” (above) with “Product-Market-Fit” for when virality is not a goal (like B2B SaaS)

8) “What are you F***ING GREAT at?!? DO MORE OF THAT!!!”

[Several sports examples/analogies — Coming Soon] TEASERS: 
A) Michael Jordan: Basketball career vs. Baseball career… 
B) It doesn’t matter if Bill Belichick sucks at passing, catching, running, blocking, or tackling… [full column soon]

9) Optimistic vs. Realistic

… and why those “Never Give Up!” and “Winners Never Quit!” motivators can actually do more harm than good! [full column soon]

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

[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

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

A) Remember learning about Correlation vs. Causation? If a successful entrepreneur did [whatever] and had success, be sure to consider whether that was a CAUSE of the success — or if perhaps 99% of entrepreneurs who tried that same thing might fail anyway? (To Be Continued)

B) For every AWESOME inspirational story of success that you hear, remember there are potentially hundreds of HORRIBLE failure stories you’ll never hear… (To Be Continued)


You can get merch with this design… speaking of which: A) Looking for a designer (because I may or may not have “designed” that myself — in PowerPoint!)… B) Looking for someone who wants to run LivingTheStartupDream.com — as a Startup? / Side Hustle? / whatever…

12) Funding Frustrations?

Spoiler Alert 1: MOST investments are BAD investments! 
Spoiler Alert 2: Friends & Family Funding = Founders Frequently Failing
(coming soon)

THEREFORE…

13a) YOUR confidence, YOUR beliefs, YOUR assumptions — can (unfortunately) NOT be taken as OBJECTIVE (about YOUR startup — because EVERY ENTREPRENEUR feels that strongly about THEIR STARTUP!) so they are simply not objectively relevant if investors (or you, yourself!) are attempting to evaluate your startup’s success odds — OBJECTIVELY! 
(Full Column)

13b) THE (only?) OBJECTIVE INDICATORS

(That a Startup Has Better-Than-Average Chances of Success)

1. Product-Market Fit (proven, not based on your assumptions)
2. Viral Traction / Growth
3. Repeatable Customer-Acquisition Model
4. Profits (or at least steady or growing revenue)
 — 5. Funding. (Only for how it will allow you to grow — 
 — NOT because it’s truly as objectively validating as 1–4)

(Click for More — Full Column)


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 Pervasive Problems & Prominent PitfallsBecause 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 for ReThinkingStartups.com Ideas & Improvement Initiative!

3 Years of Thinking/Writing/Planning:
IamNOTaCEO.com (Entrepreneurial Epiphanies)
ThoughtsOnStartups.com (Thoughts & Theories)
ReThinkingStartups.com (Improvement Initiatives)
ViralWhatever.com (“We make Sh*t Go Viral” Secret Sauce)
Part-Time “Pursuit of Proof” Premises & Programs:
StarterStartups.com / MultipleBasketStartups.com / theSWANstartup.com
Practicing What We Preach:
18Startups.com / PitchingForPartners.com

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