What's the biggest mistake you've made as a founder?

Richard Fang
103 replies
This sounds silly but when I launched my first startup 5 years ago, we didn't put in a vesting schedule 😅 Wanted to see what others have done but also things we know to avoid in the future!

Replies

Engineer. Entrepreneur.
Two biggest mistakes - insufficient problem hypothesis validation and poor mentor-mentee values fit.
Share
Marketer and Lover of Tech
@gogloballakshmi What happened with your mentor - mentee part?
Share
Engineer. Entrepreneur.
@richardfliu we just didn't see eye to eye in terms of execution.. My strategy was different from theirs and the communication style was a mismatch when discussing disagreements. Of course I understand this on postmortem.. I did not have this clarity when I was caught up in action.
Share
Seller at heart, helping founders sell
@gogloballakshmi Was this an advisor presented to you by your investors?
Share
Engineer. Entrepreneur.
@prateek_mathur mentors and advisors are not the same... I was bootstrapped, never took investor money... startups are about communities too..
Share
Marketer and Lover of Tech
@gogloballakshmi Ah that sucks :/
Share
dev @DetoxBox, Gmail inbox cleanup
I should have hired a mentor who would force me to think more clearly about our startup and hold me accountable. Or join a preacceleration program. I think we would grow much faster.
Share
Engineer. Entrepreneur.
@artem_smirnov A mentor is to facilitate, IMO nothing should be force especially for a founder.. What I see is you wanted someone to communicate with, so a matching communication style will help with achieving goals..
dev @DetoxBox, Gmail inbox cleanup
@gogloballakshmi Yes, by "force" I mean asking uncomfortable questions that I avoid asking myself.
Share
Data Intelligence meets good living
@artem_smirnov I've done that, am doing that. I'm having to rethink because I'm self-funding and this is expensive expensive. But she helped me re-pivot and if she holds me accountable (which is a big deal) - which she has - then I need to maybe just eat it and live with it. I was literally re-thinking the investment this morning. It's painful because "intangibles" like "clarifies", "calms", "synthesizes" is not lines of code or bugs killed, newsletters written, or instagram posts.
Share
entrepreneur
I think the ones which cost me the most time and cash were: 1. didn't make market/idea validation with the clients, before start the work. (I just had the assumptions) 2. Lack of a mentor. but it's hard to avoid that when you are a 1st-time founder. You want to launch asap, you think you have the best idea in the world, and so on.. :D
Share
Marketer and Lover of Tech
@adrian_topka Haha 100% - it seems like market/idea validation is a common theme
Share
entrepreneur
Tealpod.com, Watermark.ink, KeyVal.org
Not releasing until all planned features are completed. For https://watermark.ink I built a complete visual editor for custom templates and most my users hated it and said its confusing.. I thought its not worth wasting time in customer support, so sadly I have to completely remove templates feature (this feature took 50% of total dev time). Must have gone to market early and got this feedback.
Share
Marketer and Lover of Tech
@prakis Oh really wow I would have thought myself that a template feature would be what users wanted
Share
Head of Product at Pinata | Tinkerer
Biggest mistake I made was misreading the market and having tunnel vision on a future customer base that didn’t exist rather than focusing on the customer base that did exist and was happily using the product already.
Share
French tech - Maker
My biggest mistake is actually trying to Avoid mistakes by applying a specific framework. (lean ... ) Mistakes might be very different depends on products type. Sometimes trying to release as soon as possible can get you troubles but sometimes you have to release asap and go further to reach potential customers. Not Trying AB testing outbound vs inbound marketing for software based product.
Share
Marketer and Lover of Tech
@ifinnaoui Some good points! I think finding the fine line between releasing early and taking too long comes with experience haha
French tech - Maker
@richardfliu that's it ! EXPERIENCE. There is always something to learn as a founder.
Founder, Developer at Crucial Human
Not enough focus on marketing.
Share
Data Intelligence meets good living
@eddieaich That's what I'm hunkering down now with myself before going to market. It's tough though.
Share
Building tools to create better content
Two biggest mistakes - Thinking about opportunities too long before execution. If executing, waiting too long with talking to potential customers in an early stage phase.
Share
Simplification enthusiast 🌵
Not communicating enough - still working on that
Share
🔥 Taking products from good to great
Underestimating how expensive less-than-ideal product-market fit is when dealing with government institutions.
Share
Founder/CEO of WorkbookFactory.io.
I once started a tech company at the beginning of the DotCom ... bust.
Share
Marketer and Lover of Tech
@al3sha Haha that's an era I missed out on 😆
Founder/CEO of WorkbookFactory.io.
@richardfliu I promise, I learned A LOT! Wouldn't trade it in for a new car :D
serial builder of things.
@al3sha I did that, the customers kept asking "Are you going to go out of business?" and we were saying "No, we just launched!" ....and it was a SaaS about 10 years early but its still running today, 20 years later LOL.
Share
Marketer and Lover of Tech
@al3sha @dean_ayer Damn that's amazing haha
Share
Hi, I am building apps for now.
@al3sha @dean_ayer Almost every dot-com idea from 1999 that failed will succeed. - Marc Andreessen
Share
Howdy, I market things digitally.
Giving away too much of the company for early help.
Share
Marketer and Lover of Tech
@seeenjake Could I ask what you did specifically here?
Share
Founder at Hire the Author
Waiting for around 6 months for US registration when we could have started off with an Indian Company.
Share
Health hacker
Co-founder/ Important people breakup. When I know somebody for years and think that we can be business partners, it turns out that it is all illusion. I would be brutally honest to myself as a solo founder rather having fancy people on board.
Share
Marketer and Lover of Tech
@emmanguyen Yeah I acutally ran into this problem with one of my friends. Realised we're really great as friends but terrible as a co-founder partner (she's more of a corporat person).
Share
Health hacker
@richardfliu Startup game is starting from scratch. Not simply copy & paste solution from one place and put it to another market. The corp/ big org is well-designed process - Doing well in those does not mean you will thrive in startup.
Developer
Procrastinating. It has always been a huge issue for me, and has lead to some great ideas never being pursued.
Share
Security Researcher
@influxes I know how you feel. Been there, its quite a pain and I have lost quite a lot because of that alone.
One of the curious bunch
@influxes i feel that means you weren't really excited about them. perhaps led you to something better: you have passion + good idea.
Developer
@angelina_magr I was excited for them to be a reality. But I was not excited about the pains of building them. So I procrastinated.
One of the curious bunch
@influxes not excited enough then? :P
Developer
@angelina_magr hahaha, fair enough I guess :)
Full Stack Developer
Not validating idea!
Share
Father, entrepreneur, and engineer.
OH GOD, so many mistakes. Overpaying employees and not negotiating influencer contracts.
Share
HHI Sofa is the manufacturer and seller.
Hi, Usually I never comment on blogs but your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it. You’re doing a great job.Keep it up. Have A Nice Day!! Thanks
Share
buildin' helpful products
didn't make market validation before putting too much time.
Share
Businessman
did a lot of that
Share