One of biggest keys to the success of the startup movement is its willingness to share story of failure. The media tends to focus on tales of startups’ success–and success has many fathers. Unfortunately, startups fail much more often than they succeed. Fortunately, it has become a rite of passage for individual founders of failed startups to share their lessons learned in a post-mortem blog post. You can read my own personal story here. It’s usually the last thing we do before turning off the lights and returning any remaining assets over to investors. The purpose of this “wiki” is to provide a central location for founders to share their stories–and for aspiring entrepreneurs to try and learn from their mistakes.
There are a few other collections of startup failure blog posts out there on the Interwebs, however we need more than a someone’s list of the “best of” every year or two. Everyone who tries, fails, and has the courage to share a story with others deserves a better way to be discovered and remembered. I use the word “wiki” very lightly here. This page is not currently open to user edits–as I prefer that you use the submission form below. However it is a continually evolving document that I will update at least weekly with additions, edits and features.
Like any good startup, the success of this collection of posts is just a hypothesis. I need your help to build the list, refine how it is presented, and spread word-of-mouth about its existence. The list below is admittedly very basic and I have lots of “one more thing” ideas for improving it, but if you’re not embarrassed by your Minimum Viable Product you’ve waited too long (itself a lesson that has been learned the hard way over and over again).
Please skip down to the submission form to add an example to the list (whether it’s your own story or a useful post you stumbled upon). For general feedback, ideas or complaints–please use the Contact Form.
At the end of the examples I have also included additional links of lessons from failure and other inspiring stories. And since my company is focused on helping startups nail their basic problem/solution/product, I’ve included a list of related articles on this topic as well. My thanks to Jonathan Richman for tips, ChubbyBrain for seeding this list, and Pat McCarthy for inspiring this idea.
This page is “sponsored” by my own startup, The Minimum Viable Concept Test, a research tool that helps founders and investors learn before developing their products and services.
Thanks for your support and stories!
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- “The Things First Time Founders Do”
- “18 Mistakes That Kill Startups” (Paul Graham)
- “Why do Startups Fail?” (Quora)
- “The Top 20 Reasons that Startups Fail”
- The Startup Genome Report on Why Startups Fail (TechCrunch)
- “Two-thirds of startup failures result from people problems“
- “Why Startups Fail“
- “The Top 10 Reasons Startups Fail“
- “Top 10 Reasons Why Businesses Fail: Avoid the Mistakes“
- “10 Greatest Startup Failures of All Time”
- “Set a Failure Point and Stick to it”
Other Inspirational Reading on Learning from Failure:
- “The Dirty Little Secret of Overnight Success” (Fast Company)
- “How to Embrace Failure” (Eric Ries in Wired)
- “How to Fail: Mark Pincus” (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)
- TechCrunch Deadpool
- “How 3 Ideas Per Day Cured My Fear of Startup Failure”
- BmoreFail - a conference to celebrate–and conquer–failure
- “The Problem with the Myth of Persistence”
- “Is ‘Pivot’ the New ‘Fail’?”
- “The Default State of Startups is Failure”
- “The Happy Entpreneur: Staying Positive in the Face of Persistent Bad News”
- “Failure: The F-Word Silicon Valley Loves and Hates” (NPR)
- “The Startup Failure Boom, And What To Do When It Happens To You”
- “Why Companies Fail–and How Their Founders Can Bounce Back” (HBS)
- “Have a Wake for Failed Startups” (Feld)
- “Why Silicon Valley Loves Failures” (Inc.)