The Biggest Startup Mistakes

The Biggest Startup Mistakes

Sunday 6:27 PM

You cannot be a General if you have never been to war. I made all of the mistakes on this list below and much more throughout my business career.

-Built a crappy product
-Chose the wrong strategy
-Set the wrong execution plan
-Hired poorly
-Ignored culture
-Failed to set priorities
-Lacked customer understanding
-Spent too much money
-Spent too little money
-Chose the wrong cofounders
-Selected the wrong investors
-Took too much risk
-Took too little risk
-Forgot about structure and process
-Did not believe in the power of a brand
-Did not know how to build a brand
-Allowed hubris to cloud judgement

I started my 1st company during my 2nd year at Harvard Business School with my classmate Soon Loo when I was 27 years old and struggling on US$4 a day in poverty. Within 18 months after graduation, our startup had raised over US$38m in venture capital, grew to 150 employees, and had a US$200m acquisition offer on the table. We foolishly rejected any discussions because we had big IPO dreams. As luck would have it, the stock market tanked soon afterwards while the economy fell apart, shutting the door completely to the capital markets. We were burning through cash and had to pivot our business model. A year later, we sold the company at a much lower valuation. In that startup alone, I made a mountain of mistakes.

People often ask me today how ONE Championship went from a dream on a piece of paper several years ago into Asia’s largest global sports media property in history with a global broadcast to 145+ countries. The short answer is simple. I have tons of battle scars. Years before ONE was even born, I went through many failures. The long answer is that I applied the learnings from those failures to bring together the greatest team in the world at ONE.

The truth is that failures and mistakes are simply stepping stones to your future greatness. Embrace them as wonderful opportunities to learn, grow, and evolve. They teach you what no textbook or classroom can. Do not let anything or anyone deny the world of your greatness. Dream big. Do good. Chase your greatness. #WeAreONE



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