Mindmeters mentioned an old piece by Graham, which I must have read then. Lately I was forced to deal with my previous company again, and it reminded me to make this check list. Bold items apply. Start counting!

  1. 孤家寡人 (Single Founder)
  2. 缺少地利 (Bad Location)
    “Even in New York the number of startups per capita is probably a 20th of what it is in Silicon Valley.” So NYC is closer to bad than good location.
  3. 领域偏狭 (Marginal Niche)
  4. 拾人牙慧 (Derivative Idea)
  5. 固执己见 (Obstinacy)
  6. 遇人不淑 (Hiring Bad Programmers)
  7. 平台不当 (Choosing the Wrong Platform)
  8. 发布迟缓 (Slowness in Launching)
  9. 发布过早 (Launching Too Early)
  10. 无的放矢 (Having No Specific User in Mind)
  11. 资金太少 (Raising Too Little Money)
  12. 花销无度 (Spending Too Much)
  13. 资金太多 (Raising Too Much Money)
  14. 资方制肘 (Poor Investor Management)
  15. 牺牲用户 (Sacrificing Users to (Supposed) Profit)
  16. 自命清高 (Not Wanting to Get Your Hands Dirty)
  17. 内部争斗 (Fights Between Founders)
  18. 三心二意 (A Half-Hearted Effort)

I changed some translations to keep the 4-character rhyme. Isn’t Chinese great for this?

Graham didn’t say how many strikes are considered out, but 10 out of 18 is a surety in any measure, I suppose.