Today I had a really awkward discussion with a friend of mine, who asked me: “Okay, you are programmer, right? I need something like AirBnb—how much it might cost, and how long will take?”
You might be smiling right now. “Oh no, that’s definitely not my case. I know exactly how successful my startup will be.”
But in most cases you are not much better off than this friend. I was once in the same place.
So the first reason your startup will fail is:
You can’t (or don’t want to) calculate your costs and earnings before you start.
My first startup was lovely. I was vocal during startup meetings; I had a designer and a brand manager, but then… Some smart guy calculated the profit of my startup after three years, and it was barely above zero.
The second reason is:
You can calculate your costs and earnings before start. So you won’t even start.
Years passed, and I decided to try again. This time I was “smarter,” and I made my calculations beforehand. And you know what? I decided that it was better not to start that company at all.
The third reason is:
You don’t want to run your startup only to take money from investors.
I had a perfect experience of working with the CEO of a startup who lived only by “earning” investors’ money. His startup never became profitable. But you know what? He is still running that business, five years or more later. I don’t know why or how, but he still has investors’ money.
The fourth reason is:
You are not obsessed with the idea to be ready to starve for it.
Okay, let’s get back to my cases. Once I had calculated that my second startup was not going to be profitable, I decided, Well, I still want to do that. I want to make the world a better place. And guess what? Right! I never established a time to start, because I needed to work to pay my rent, to eat and feed my cat, etc…
I think survivorship bias has done a disservice to “startup culture,” because all we know about successful startups—there’s evidence of success! But how much do you know about non-successful ones before starting your own?