How to fail as a startup

Introduction

You own a startup company, right? You, supposedly, have a super, modern, whatever idea that you want to develop it and sell it, and make money of it. Plot twist! What happens, as a startup company, not having totally defined your idea? Not any peripheral details, but the core idea itself of the product you want to sell! You are doomed to fail.

The path to the unknown

Any startup has to face a number of challenges. Competition, financial management, winning customers trust. But also has to set realistic goals and hire the right people who will embrace the startup’s vision. What happens when you have no vision or your vision is quite blur? Who is going to trust you and why?

During any meetings, if the answer to any core idea related questions, is “I don’t know, we will see”, then the whole endeavour is a failure. It’s different to reconsider parts of your future product, an another not to have a clear vision. A path to the unknown generates disappointment, lack of trust, lack of judgement, and wrong decision making.

What a programmer should do?

First of all… patience. No need for any kind of irrational behavior. Bad and toxic behaviors lead to equally bad responses. Secondly, try to make a point. Help the team to understand that the train is derailing. If they hear you or not, it’s up to them, not up to you. If the disappointment is too obvious, and the whole team is falling apart, then you know the game is over and you start looking for a new job!

Start a startup without domain expertise and hire experts?

Well, this question should be a long debate. There are not just two opposite sides there. But no matter your point of view is, there is always a common factor: leadership. “Everything rises and falls on leadership” as John C. Maxwell wrote.

Conclusions

Working for a startup is always a risk. Working for a company that culture is not established, and you contribute one way or another to it, it’s a long way to walk. In a startup people should be the priority, who will form the product, and the product itself. Otherwise, the whole endeavor is jeopardized.

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