The New Venture Learning Curve

Most founders look back on their startup journey as the most inten­sive educational experience of their lives. Even serial entrepreneurs, full of war stories, are amazed at what can be learned with each new venture. Rather than thinking of learning as a bonus, something to be gained while chasing customers and revenue, wise founders view learning as a primary objective of their startup launch. They are insa­tiable students of successes and failures, large and small. They dig for cause-and-effect relationships and erase uncertainty wherever possible. This mindset of discovery ensures that positive results are evaluated and put in perspective, and that the inevitable mistakes and misadventures bring value to the venture as well. Learning cannot be separated from your startup’s performance because it drives startup performance.

Three practices will help you avoid a certainty-driven approach and, instead, launch your venture as a flexible process of discovery. The first is rapid, healthy iteration, a process that will drive and enrich your new venture learning curve. The second is to ensure that your cycles of iteration are occurring at multiple levels, beyond simply cranking out new product features. And the third is to capture relevant lessons in a balanced and holistic way, utilizing the four-quadrant model for new venture success.


Resources and Readings

Thanks to Internet search technology and social media interconnec­tivity, answers to most entrepreneurial questions can be found with a few clicks. I have attempted to list sources beyond the usual …

Startup Readiness Tool

This tool can be used to: ■ Evaluate and improve a founding team’s readiness to launch a business ■ Calibrate the timing of a startup effort (accelerate or delay) ■ …


The deepest form of entrepreneurial commitment acknowledges and accepts that there are forces in the marketplace that are beyond the founder’s control, forces that will impact the venture’s destiny for …

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