Failed Startup Recounts Its Mistakes - InformationWeek

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7/24/2008
11:20 AM
John Foley
John Foley
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Failed Startup Recounts Its Mistakes

Angel investor Roger Ehrenberg has provided a frank assessment of what went wrong at Monitor110, a Web-based information service for hedge fund traders that closed down a few days ago. Many startups fail, but few are this candid about their mistakes.

Angel investor Roger Ehrenberg has provided a frank assessment of what went wrong at Monitor110, a Web-based information service for hedge fund traders that closed down a few days ago. Many startups fail, but few are this candid about their mistakes.Ehrenberg, a Monitor110 board member, gives a postmortem of the failed venture on his blog. He boils it down to "seven deadly sins." In Ehrenberg's words, they are:

1. The lack of a single, "the buck stops here" leader until too late in the game
2. No separation between the technology organization and the product organization
3. Too much PR, too early
4. Too much money
5. Not close enough to the customer
6. Slow to adapt to market reality
7. Disagreement on strategy both within the company and with the board
Failure, like success, comes in many stripes, and everybody's if-only-we-had-done-things-differently list is different. Yet, Monitor110 apparently stepped into some pretty well known startup landmines -- conflicting priorities, failure to adapt quickly enough, and being out of touch with customers.

Last fall, I posted my own list of "7 Deadly Startup Mistakes." That list was based on observation, not first-hand experience like Ehrenberg's. It included an inability to articulate the business idea succinctly, failure to pull the right team together, and being too casual in approach.

In other words, a lot of things can torpedo a new company, and Monitor110 has added to an already long list. Concludes Ehrenberg, "I simply wasn't smart enough or experienced enough to see all of these mistakes or to feel empowered to do something about them until it was too late."

Type "Monitor110" into Google search, and the URL that comes up at the top of the results list is www.monitor110.com. It's now a dead-end link.

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