Why Startups Fail – Agreement among contrarian points

About a week ago there were a couple of very interesting blog posts about why startups fail, taking different view points:

Why Startups Fail: David Feinlab, Mohr Davidow Ventures


How “Why Startups Fail” Fails: 37 Signals

Both are very interesting reads, and I won’t go through point by point to comment on them. I’ll just pick one point that both posts agreed with: The need for an Entrepreneur with a capital “E”. Both stress the importance of someone willing to make decisions, organize a clear vision, and help implement that vision. As the CEO of YouCastr, that is a role I am intimately familiar with.

In general, the role of a CEO is pretty amorphous. It is not directly measurable the way that sales (number of customers) or engineering (product progress) are. This is even more true for an early stage startup, where the role and the company are constantly evolving. One of the typical paths for a tech startup is the evolution from a product focus to a marketing focus. Ben Yoskovitz has an interesting post about the Evolution of a Software Startup from engineering and product focused, to sales and marketing focused.

It’s interesting to read about the importance of that Entrepreneur, and it’s something I take to heart. I set a pretty high standard for myself, but not letting my team down is an even bigger motivator. They believe in me, and as Dharmesh Shah says, “Success = Make Those That Believed In You Look Brilliant”.