Zombie startups

Zombie startups are VC funded companies that don’t close their doors after funding runs out, but also does not grow significantly. They typically generate enough revenues to continue business, but the VC is unable to divest. As a result, the company tends to shed all of its brainpower and continues to operate as a brainless zombie for many years (svdictionary.com link)

Business Insider: The CEO of Dropbox explains the one thing that’s worse than having your startup fail: becoming a ‘zombie startup’ (businessinsider.com link)

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Nothing worth doing is easy

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” ― Theodore Roosevelt (goodreads.com link)

Forbes: A Business Is Not Worth Building Unless You Are Ready To ‘Go All-In’ (forbes.com link)

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Sunk cost and fallacy effect

People demonstrate “a greater tendency to continue an endeavor once an investment in money, effort, or time has been made.” This is the sunk cost fallacy, and such behavior may be described as “throwing good money after bad”, while refusing to succumb to what may be described as “cutting one’s losses”. Sunk costs influence people’s decisions, with people believing that investments (i.e., sunk costs) justify further expenditures (wikipedia.org link)

Guy Champniss: Five ways great startups can fall victim to poor decision-making (linkedin.com link)

Steve Schlafman: The Dilemma of Sunk Costs in Venture Capital (medium.com link)

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The mom test

Talking to customers is one of the foundational skills of both Customer Development and Lean Startup. They say you shouldn’t ask your mom whether your business is a good idea, because she loves you and will lie to you. This is technically true, but it misses the point. You shouldn’t ask anyone if your business is a good idea. It’s a bad question and everyone will lie to you at least a little (momtestbook.com link)

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Respect others’ time

Greg Savage: How did it get to be “OK” for people to be late for everything? (gregsavage.com.au link)

Forbes: How Respecting Others’ Time Results In Better Performance For Everyone (forbes.com link)

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Listen to understand and not just to respond

Psychology Today: Are You Really Listening, or Just Waiting to Talk? (psychologytoday.com link)

Entrepreneur: 5 Ways Listening Grows Your Business (entrepreneur.com link)

Startup Instanbul: Listening is important for your startup (startupistanbul.com link)

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Problem analysis with five whys

Five whys (or 5 whys) is an iterative interrogative technique used to explore the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem. The primary goal of the technique is to determine the root cause of a defect or problem by repeating the question “Why?”. Each answer forms the basis of the next question. The “five” in the name derives from an anecdotal observation on the number of iterations needed to resolve the problem (wikipedia.org link)

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Rubber ducking a business processes

In software engineering, rubber duck debugging is a method of debugging code. The name is a reference to a story in the book The Pragmatic Programmer in which a programmer would carry around a rubber duck and debug their code by forcing themself to explain it, line-by-line, to the duck (wikipedia.org link)

Rubber Duck Debugging: The Psychology of How it Works (thoughtfulcode.com link)

Rubber duck debugging is not limited to debugging coding, it can also be used to debug any processes, including business processes. By forcing yourself to explain everything in detail any process any gaps will become clear as you won’t be able to easily articulate them.

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When to stop

In mathematics, the theory of optimal stopping or early stopping is concerned with the problem of choosing a time to take a particular action, in order to maximise an expected reward or minimise an expected cost (wikipedia.org link)

Vsauce2: The Game You Quit

Numberphile: Mathematical Way to Choose a Toilet

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Startups are a marathon and not a sprint

Start-ups are a marathon and not a sprint (hackernoon.com link)

The saying It’s a marathon not a sprint, albeit overused — proves that there is more meaning to uncover than what we initially assumed. Committing to a goal is difficult, but seeing progress is something we can never regret (medium.com link)

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