Mistakes that startups make

startup failure

When you start or join a startup the odds are already stacked against you, so why would you make things even harder on yourself by repeating what past entrepreneurs have done time and time again?  How can you avoid these pitfalls?  Why are they even pitfalls?  How does everyone seem to fall into these traps?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the many mistakes I have seen startups make over the years (including my own) and have decided I should start to compile a list and systematically go through it to try to understand why these are mistakes or what went wrong  (at least in my opinion).

Understandably individually these things wouldn’t necessarily spell startup disaster, but when you start to add them together you are definitely leading yourself down the path to failure.

I’ll start with a list and then will write a more detailed account in individual blog posts of past experiences and how to potentially avoid these issues in the future.  This is what I have thusfar… please feel free to send me a message to add more…


  1. Acting like a big dick when you barely have a penis
  2. Reinventing the wheel – Build vs buy
  3. Lack of focus
  4. Not knowing when you are beating a dead horse
  5. Spending investor money on stupid shit
  6. Wasting too much time on operational issues


  1. No transparency with your team
  2. Creating positions to fit people vs filling needed positions
  3. Hiring too many or the wrong people at the wrong time
  4. Not empowering your team
  5. Seasoned veterans vs the hungry – which would you rather?
  6. Distributed teams
  7. Lead by example not by email


  1. Founders not truly believing in their product / market
  2. Ignoring internal and external feedback
  3. Not beta testing or validating your product
  4. Not developing fast enough / bad processes / no processes
  5. Saying you’re agile when you are anything but