Startups Fail For The Same Reasons Restaurants Do

Paul Graham recently gave an interview to Inc.  Maybe you’ve heard of it?

Sadly, the “controversy” over Paul being misquoted about foreign accents has overshadowed an interview that I think is worth its weight in gold.  My favorite part of the interview is this passage:

“Most of the time, start-ups fail for the same reasons restaurants do:
Their food is bad. If a place has really good food, it can be in an
obscure location, charge a lot, and have really bad service, and it will
still be popular. If it has bad food, boy, it better do something
really special to get anybody in there. Which is why we say, “Make
something people want.” That’s the fundamental problem. If you die, it’s
probably because you didn’t make something people wanted.”

It never ceases to amaze me when I see entrepreneurs working 100-hour weeks on the equivalent of table centerpieces, waiter uniforms, and the fonts on the menu.  Make good food, and you’ll have a shot at succeeding.  Make bad food, and you’ll be Guy Fieri.

Even with the power of a national brand and a nightly primetime soapbox, you won’t be able to overcome your own revolting cuisine.

If people want your products, you can figure out the answers to the other questions.  If people don’t want your products, none of the other answers matter.

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