Top startup anti-patterns

Following my post on the value of startup anti-patterns, with the help of readers of this blog and friends from the startup ecosystem, I put together a list of the more common ones that I encounter. The list used to be here but I moved it to a page on startup anti-patterns for easier linking and sharing.

About Simeon Simeonov

Entrepreneur. Investor. Trusted advisor.
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7 Responses to Top startup anti-patterns

  1. Ty Danco says:

    Awesome (and depressing) list, Sim. I’d argue, however, that a lot more startups have gone belly-up from premature scaling (before product-market fit) rather than delayed scaling.

    • You are absolutely right, Ty: these are not “drawn to scale.” Premature scaling is a far more frequent problem by number of occurrences, partly because most startups never survive to the point where they might have a delayed scaling problem.

      As a percentage, however, I’m not sure how they compare. I’d argue that delayed scaling is also more of an East Coast problem: the total number (not percentage!) of founders & execs who have had experience with rapid growth and operating at a significant scale is smaller here.

  2. Boyan says:

    Lack of focus; wishful thinking; opinions, not facts; doing it all by yourself

    • Boyan, I changed “doing too much” to “lack of focus” as it more accurately describes the root cause of the problem. Thanks.

      “Wishful thinking” is very prevalent. To me it is equivalent to “unrealistic expectations” so I think I have this covered.

      “Opinions, not facts” is interesting. My question is whether this is an anti-pattern that should be discussed on its own or something that underlies anti-patterns such as ignorance, arrogance, unrealistic expectations, etc.

      Finally, most of the people who do it all by themselves never really become “startups”, which is why I didn’t plan on discussing this common pattern of early failure.

  3. Jon Masters says:

    Thanks Simeon, I’m really looking forward to reading them. 🙂

  4. Emil Sotirov says:

    Will repeat a commenter before me – depressing – especially when I see a lot of those items relating to my own experience.

    • Emil, looking at the list I am hopeful that by analyzing and sharing the patterns of preventable failure, we can increase the chances of more startups succeeding.

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