Being Too Early with a Startup Idea is a Failure

Last week I was on a panel at the Digital Summit conference with well over 1,000 attendees. One of the panelists with me was Todd Sawicki, an entrepreneur in a high growth startup that recounted how his previous seven ventures were a failure. One of the comments that he made really stuck with me:

If you’re too early with a startup idea, that’s a failure just like any other.

Many entrepreneurs don’t realize that after running out of money, being too early with an idea is one of the most common reasons for failure. Todd told how he worked on a startup that was similar to YouTube, only it was 1997. He also talked about working on a startup that was similar to Dropbox/Carbonite/Mozy, but that it was 1996. Being too early with a startup idea is a failure and happens all the time.

What else? Do you think being too early with a startup idea is a failure?

3 thoughts on “Being Too Early with a Startup Idea is a Failure

  1. In those two cases it sounds as though both of the ideas were lacking the enabling technology to let them, as Marc Andressen would say, “punch-through”?? In1996, the cost of running services on the cloud was still prohibitive. Perhaps ideas too early for their time can be considered failures but being the first to make a calculated prediction that a new technology, law or shift in consumer behavior will disrupt an industry and displace existing products/services seems to a common theme at the origins of many successful companies.

    David — I thoroughly enjoy your blog. 2nd time entrepreneur and a spunge of knowledge. Congrats on all your recent success!

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