90% of products fail. why?



“In a sense there’s just one mistake that kills startups: not making something users want. If you make something users want, you’ll probably be fine, whatever else you do or don’t do. And if you don’t make something users want, then you’re dead, whatever else you do or don’t do.”  This is Paul Graham’s main reason why startups fail. Below you will find some others.

Source: Paul Graham

1. Single Founder – all of the great technology companies had 2 founders (Apple, Microsoft, Google). Although I would argue Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos have come closest to breaking this rule

2. Bad Location – if you’re serious, be in the Valley (this includes SF)

3. Marginal Niche – avoid small markets, and focus on big problems in big markets

4. Derivative Idea – don’t take an existing success and tweak it in a small way. I think a lot of the “Airbnb for X” or “Heroku for Y” have this problem, too

5. Obstinacy – your original business plan is probably wrong, but it’s important not to change too quickly, either

6. Hiring Bad Programmers – self-explanatory; implied: starting a company as a business founder, without a strong technical cofounder

7. Choosing the Wrong Platform – platforms include Windows, Apple’s App Store, and Facebook; choose carefully since they’re your partner, whether you like it or not

8. Slowness in Launching – get your product into users’ hands as soon as you have a “quantum of utility”, then iterate quickly

9. Launching Too Early – less important than #8, but if you launch too early, you risk hurting your reputation

10. Having No Specific User in Mind – can you envision EXACTLY what your ideal user looks like, how she behaves, and what she wears?

11. Raising Too Little Money – raise enough to get to the next step, and then 50-100% more for buffer

12. Spending Too Much – happens when you hire too many people, and/or pay too much salary (give equity instead)

13. Raising Too Much Money – when this happens, you’re expected to spend it quickly, and your company becomes less nimble

14. Poor Investor Management – ignore them, and they’ll be upset; heavily involve them, and they may wind up calling the shots

15. Sacrificing Users to (Supposed) Profit – we were guilty of this: too much emphasis on finding a business model and earning revenue, before we had a product that users wanted

16. Not Wanting to Get Your Hands Dirty – the best founders do whatever’s necessary to grow the company, in particular understanding their users and acquiring more of them

17. Fights Between Founders – most unresolvable disputes are due to differences between people, not due to the particulars of a situation, so choose your cofounder(s) carefully

18. A Half-Hearted Effort – quit your day job, and be obsessed with your startup

We help startups start faster and more efficiently. Hekovnik’s programs are based on over 20 years of experience. Our curriculum has been tested on, implemented, and inspired by 17 generations of startups and our strong network of program partners that can help you in any area we might lack expertise in. If you would like to have your own program (internal entrepreneurship, spin-offs … ), please let us know and we will devise a program tailored specifically to your needs.


8 principles of success

A startup is a company designed to grow fast. Being newly founded does not in itself make a company a startup. Nor is it necessary for a startup to work on technology, or take venture funding, or have some sort of “exit.” The only essential thing is growth. Everything else we associate with startups follows from growth.

Startup = Growth; Paul Graham


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Jaka Ogorevc (left), cofounder Enolyse

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