Originally posted on 12/28/2010
When a friend sent me this Startup School video of AirBnB’s Brian Chesky talking about the first 1000 days of his company and how they kept ‘failing’ and starting again I decided to do some more digging for some good write ups on failed startups. I found a wealth of links to some 30 odd write-ups on Business Insider and I decided to compile the ones that provided the most value.
Find below links to what I consider the most useful postmortems. Some were funded. Some were bootstrapped. All are now dead and buried. I’m making some of the assumptions they made as we build Power2Switch. The articles provide simple lessons we probably all know but forget while in the trenches. I hope the articles help you too…
ALL ABOUT CUSTOMERS: Simply put these guys forgot the 3 important things in the early days of your startup (they had more money than sense I guess): Customers are the most important thing, sell what they want and make more money than you spend.
WHY WESABE LOST TO MINT: When you get to market matters less than how much attention you pay to your customers. This article is more of a comparison between Wesabe (which launched Mint before Mint but failed) and Mint (which launched later and was acquired by Intuit last year) but the product and user interface decisions are critical for all web based businesses.
WHAT MATTERS IN THE STARTUP LIFE? This post mortem provides a good breakdown of how the loss of focus on the parts of the ‘company’ structure lead to failure (could be more comprehensive in my opinion)
IT TAKES TIME: Like a baby that cannot tell you what it needs but keeps crying because it needs something, startups demand attention (and nurturing and feeding). This blog discusses how you need to spend the time on the business
IT’S REALLY SIMPLE: Simple. Concise and straight to the point analysis of why they failed.
NETWORK EFFECTS: Like Power2Switch this business model was ‘Network effect driven’. The founder reminds us that not all good ideas are good businesses. And it’s all about the implementation..
Hope this helps you as much as it’s helping us.