How to make sure to fail your startup

Ignorance is thinking that you know something that you don't know. My opinion is that being an ignorant is not really an advantage in most situations. And I bet that a lot of people who fail at building a company are like that.

One issue with people who are ignorant is that it is difficult to make them change, as they are sure the don't have any problem. This is a documented topic in psychology, you can read it more here : Four stages of competence.

This is always difficult to make an article to tell people how to be successfull. Because for any tips that you may give, there are always people who will succeed by doing the opposite. People are very different and we have to accept it. Also being successfull is all about being yourself and being innovative, so really the kind of things which don't follow rules.

So instead of telling you how to succeed I will try to explain you how to fail

Spend your time reading people explaining how to succeed

Subscribe to podcasts of people who are successfull, read books on people who have succeed and make a summary of the book, learn Steve Jobs quotes and read blog posts of people who have failed. If you spend a lot of time doing it, I can ensure you that you are taking the good path.

  • The Steve Jobs quotes will help you explain to your friend why you are working on something that nobody cares about
  • The books will help you following processes that doesn't suit you and will help you spending most of your time on things that are not relevant
  • The podcasts will make your long days super short, listen to it at speed x1 and when you find a new podcast make sure to listen to at least 10 episodes, because every founders is different and you can't be good yourself if you don't know what all other people have experienced
  • The blog posts will give you the ability to skip all the mistakes that other people have made and you will fail even faster than them

Make a blog post explaining why you have 0 customers

This is often something I recommend, create a blog post, explain why you have 0 customers, and create a list of learnings for people who read you, that way they will be able to not make the same mistakes as you. Publish the post on HackerNews, people there like to defend the weak, so you will have a lot of people talking about your post, you will be happy. Some people will tell you that your startup is a bad idea, but don't listen to them, they are jealous that you have a lot of visibility and no customers. At the end you will feel like you had a very productive day, and your article is very popular, you should spend more time on creating other articles. If you don't have any idea for your post, inspire yourself from this good one

Don't promote your product or not on the good communities

Good communities, are communities of people who never buy anything. For example people working in tech and introverts are very good at that, they are more rationnal people than average and they know that it is important to save their money and not buy useless things. So if you present your product to them, they will make a lot of comments, but don't worry none will buy it.

But even better is to not promote your product. If you think your product is revolutionary, that's maybe because it is the case, and people will find it by themselves. That's especially true when you sell to B2B. Companies have plenty of time searching the web for the best tools.

Don't stick to an idea for more than 3 weeks

If after 3 weeks you have no customer, that's because this is a bad idea and nobody is interested. And if you didn't promote your product and after 1 week there is no customer, you can change. This is very important to pivot as fast as possible when you don't have customers, just try to market yourself differently or completely rebuild your product in Vue.js it will make it faster and it will be much easier in the future to hire developpers.

Another possibitity is to make a survey about a few topics and ask your family what they think should be your next topic. You will have feedbacks from other people and you will have just to pick the highest ranked topic and start to build it. After creating this product if nobody is willing to pay for it, at least you will be able to blame the people who answered the survey and make a blog post on 'why people don't really know what they need'

Choose a programming language and a market that you don't know

I've already talked a bit about it. But if you are very good in Python, you may consider something like Rust or Scala to build your product. People are much more interested in Rust than Python and this is blazing fast, you will have no issue hiring expensive 10x developpers. Also if you don't know the language, this is an opportunity to learn a new one. I'm pretty sure also that you are very good at multi-tasking, so you will be very efficent at learning and building at the same time.

As for the market, if you have a lot of experience in ecommerce then pick something in the law business for example. After all this is not important to be an expert in the field to be successfull, people will adapt to your phylosophy and they will feel stupid not having thought to your ideas before.

Do everything on your own and don't ask for help

You and me, we know that other people are dumb and evil. If you explain them what you want to do, they will probably steal your idea and build it before you, after all the competitive advantage is the idea and the person who is starting first will make the most money. Don't go to startup events, you should spend the most time as possible in your room, and don't go to an incubator either. The less people are aware of your product the less likely you will get customers, it is also very important not to ask your potential customers of what they think. If you are not good at sales don't make more effort, or maybe invest some money on Google to rank first on some keywords.

I hope that this post was helpfull to you. Don't forget to subscribe to my newsletter, Ben Thomson is making millions of dollars from his, why not me ?