What mistakes do young founders often make that more experienced ones don't? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
When you're new to founding a company, a lack of management experience leads to a variety of predictable people issues and operational mistakes, but they're rarely fatal. I'd separate those operational mistakes (running slowly) from strategic mistakes (running in the wrong direction) which are a more serious blind spot.
Young founders are often good at building an initial product and talking to early users but don't know what they don't know. As a result, they often have trouble seeing the bigger chessboard. This was certainly true for me (I was twenty-four when we founded Dropbox).
There's more to building a successful company and getting to scale than building a good product -- you also need to make good decisions around markets, distribution, business models, strategy and dealing with competition, how to build and run a team, and so on.
The good news is if you're systematic about training yourself, you can learn most of these things on the job. Even hyper-growth companies aren't created overnight -- curiosity and moving up the learning curve quickly are more important than avoiding mistakes. One of the most helpful questions for me has been "one year from now -- or two years, or five -- what will I wish I had been learning today?"
Published on: Feb 21, 2017