Unicorn pressures and startup failures

The startup anti-patterns section of my blog summarizes the repeatable ways startups waste time & money and, often, fail. Learning from startup failure is valuable because there are many more examples of failures that successes. (Anti-)Patterns become more noticeable and easier to verify.

For the same reason, it’s useful to read the failure post-mortems founders write. It takes meaningful commitment to discover the posts and to distill the key insights from the sometimes lengthy prose (an exercise in therapy at least as much as reporting of the facts). Luckily, there is a shortcut: the CB Insights summary of startup failures. It’s part table of contents and part Cliff Notes. It can help you pick the ones that are worth reading in full.

Some of the insights from post-mortems come from understanding the emotional biases of founders, CXOs and investors. In the uncertain startup execution environment these biases have the ability to affect behavior much more than in situations where reality is inescapable and readily quantifiable.

Speaking of emotional biases, Bill Gurley’s post on the Unicorn pressure cooker now that the magic has worn off is a must.

About Simeon Simeonov

Entrepreneur. Investor. Trusted advisor.
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