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The main reason why startups fail

473Points

5 years ago

Kevin Hale, Y Combinator partner, answered one of the main questions all of us have in our minds: why do startups fail?

Kevin Hale, Y Combinator partner, came to stage on PlatziConf right after his colleague Kat Manalac. While Kat focused on growth and PR strategies, Kevin’s talk was based on what is the main reason startup fails and what you can do to avoid it.

We love to say that startups fail because of competition or because they ran out of money. Even though all these reasons might be true, it is not the main cause for startups to don’t succeed. The main reason is “Founders stop working together” Kevin says, which means that they stop working on their startup.

Kevin early on his presentation said that on top of helping startups on their UX Design and Product Development challenges he also works as a therapist supporting founders to work together. It is crucial for the startup success that founders build long lasting relationships, just like a marriage. He illustrates this using a research done by John Gottman, a researcher from Seattle - USA.

Kevin drew an interesting parallel between marriages and startup founders’ relationships and the issues they fight about.

Kevin says “the longevity of a relationship is tied to how we fight about issues because everyone fights”. So knowing that it is impossible not to fight Kevin shares 4 behaviors, called horsemen, that you should avoid or otherwise your relationship will end.

1. Criticism. You stop talking about 1 issue and bring lots of other issues to the discussion. When this happens you won’t solve any of the issues you raised. So address one issue at a time and you’ll leave the fight with solutions.

2. Contempt. When you say something with the intent to insult the other person. This can be hurtful and end the discussion at the moment you say it without a solution.

3. Defensiveness. When one doesn’t take responsibility about their actions and makes excuses to take an action.

4. Stonewalling. When you mention an issue and the other person doesn’t respond. This can be highly frustrating when one is raising an issue to look for a solution and the other doesn’t acknowledge it.

Before lively engaging with the audience on the cases brought by PlatziConf participants Kevin closes by saying “Make a plan before you fight”. To sleep over the issue you want to discuss is not a bad idea. To summarize he uses the acronym ASAPwE, which means As Soon As Possible without Emotions.

Kevin Hale’s talk happened during PlatziConf in Mexico City and you can watch his full presentation in this video. If you want to learn more with Kevin you can watch his class on The 5 Laws of Interface Design

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Candice

473Points

5 years ago

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Thanks for sharing this post. I will comeback soon for better job

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It is relatively easy for a startup, 100% funded by venture capital cash to pay all the bills to be this “laid back”. In the end, its someone else’s money. Where fun startups become insane full time jobs is when the first investment period is up and the VC’s are looking for their return.

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