STATUS QUO BIAS and Startup *S.H.I.T. Testing

STARTUP *[Strategies, Hypotheses, Ideas, Theories] TESTING

STATUS QUO BIAS — A cognitive bias that explains our preference for familiarity… to resist change and prefer the current state of affairs
 
[definition from PsychologyToday.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 & 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!

BACKGROUND PREMISES: Startups tend to succeed loudly/publicly and tend to fail silently/privately — particularly Early Stage / Idea Stage. (Afterall, which makes for a better story in Forbes?) So most people have a very skewed perception of just how many startups/entrepreneurs are struggling / failing — and what the most common causes are. For some reason I have become fascinated by this topic.
My Relevant Background: I have been involved with startups for ~15 years (including: VC-Funded, Angel-Funded, Bootstrapped.. Successes, Failures.. as a Founder, a Co-Founder, a reluctant CEO, a Creative Director, a Mentor, an Advisor). I’ve had in-depth, private discussions with 250+ entrepreneurs about their startups and I’ve watched the public presentations of 250+ more (thanks to regular pitch events at Atlanta Tech Village, Switchyards, and Techstars Startup Weekends)

I am dumbfounded by the realization that I’m watching today’s Startups fail at the exact same rate as startups 5 years ago — which failed at the exact same rate as startups 10 years ago!

…and that I’m literally watching today’s young entrepreneurs (particularly first-time entrepreneurs) making many of the same mistakes and missteps — leading to all the same problems and pitfalls (despite all the same passion and hustle!)— mirroring all the same experiences of entrepreneurs 5 years ago which had already mirrored all the same experiences of entrepreneurs 10 years ago! #ItsGroundHogDay


ONE WAY TO LOOK AT IT:

“Yeah, that sucks… But startups are HARD, so all those mistakes/pitfalls/failures are just destined to keep happening to new entrepreneurs year after year.”

OR, PERHAPS…

…we could maybe try to identify some of the most Persistently Pervasive PROBLEMS and Precariously Prominent PITFALLS (#AlliterationAddiction) and maybe implement some improvement initiatives (within existing startup communities) that maybe try to educate/warn aspiring entrepreneurs (the ones who are humble enough / open-minded enough to listen) about the boobytraps and landmines ahead — or the proverbial piano that’s about to fall on their head — rather than just standing by and watching them walk into the inevitable disasters you‘ve seen happen countless times before…

ANALOGY, PART 1:

“Oh, no! You got hit by a car?!? Was it perhaps a silver 2015 BMW X3…? that ran a red light at the corner of Piedmont and Peachtree…?? on a Tuesday, around 9:07am…???”

— Wow! Yes, thats exactly right! How did you know that?!?

“…Yeah, no surprise there — we’ve been seeing that exact same thing happen just like that for years!! It’s a shame nobody tried to warn you. Oh well. Sorry to hear it happened to you too. Good luck with those broken legs!”

vs. ANALOGY, PART 2:

“Oh, no! You’re shutting down your startup?!? Is it perhaps because your premises and projections were based on overly-optimistic assumptions that were theoretically possible but not statistically probable…?? And/or because you spent too much time and money on branding and social media and networking and preparing for some hypothetical future iteration of your business (that, objectively, you only had a ~1% chance of ever getting to anyway) so you ran out of money before you even really got to launch and market a fully-functional MVP, after under-estimating how much time and money that development process would actually take…???”

— Wow! Yes, thats exactly right! How did you know that?!?

“…Yeah, no surprise there — we’ve been seeing that exact same thing happen just like that for years! It’s a shame nobody tried to warn you. Oh well. Sorry to hear it happened to you too. Good luck with those broken legs!” — *[or whatever the corresponding consequence would be to effectively complete the analogy]

— WTF?!


Yes, of course we all like to say:

“I learned more from my failures than I did from my successes”
“It’s not about how many times you get knocked down, it’s how many times you get back up”
“Live and learn… Nobody said it would be easy… Hardship helps us grow… It’s always darkest before the dawn… blah blah blah”

But, let’s be honest… that’s some “HAPPY-HORSESHIT HINDSIGHT!”

If you were given a time machine and the ability to learn all those same lessons WITHOUT the failures and WITHOUT the avoidable mistakes and WITHOUT repeatedly getting knocked down — because those who had “been there, done that” were willing to guide you based on a community’s collection/analysis of enough first-hand experiences, second-hand observations, and retrospective realizations to see all the same patterns (all the same Mistakes & Missteps, all the same Problems & Pitfalls) experienced by new entrepreneurs year after year after year — Wouldn’t the vast majority of us choose to just learn all those lessons WITHOUT the failures, mistakes, knockdowns, and distress?!?


“If only I had known then what I know now…”

I’ve said that.
Many of YOU have said that. 
And I GUARANTEE that, one day in the future, many young entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow will also be saying “If only I had known then what I know now…”

SPOILER ALERT: To the more experienced entrepreneurs out there (particularly the more self-aware, insightful, analytical entrepreneurs), many of us DO currently know many of the things that these young entrepreneurs will one day be lamenting “If only I had known then…”

Or is failure really THAT MUCH a “rite of passage” that the more experienced, most insightful members of the startup community should literally hold back our knowledge/experience/wisdom to force young entrepreneurs to learn it the hard way on their own?!? Repeating MANY of the same mistakes that we’ve seen made by countless entrepreneurs before them?!?


IN CONCLUSION…

It will likely be a bit disorganized initially, but please contact us here if you might be interested in working with us on the testing and implementation of some new STARTUP S.H.I.T. — Strategies, Hypotheses, Ideas, Theories — 
 …experienced entrepreneurs who share any of our thoughts? 
 …young/aspiring entrepreneurs looking to learn? 
 …and anyone/everyone in between – even those may have never even thought of themselves as an entrepreneur before!

JOIN US!