Ask HN: Signs that app you are starting will not be successful?

6 points by 3a2d29 15 days ago

Hello all, Obviously it’s hard to pick winners when the start-up is just starting, but I assume it’s more easy to see who will not make it.

I was recently asked to join an app with two others that applied to YC recently (they didn’t get accepted, but were told they were the top 10%).

I am nervous to join these two because they are both junior devs and first time founders.

ioblomov 14 days ago

Red flags include:

1. The founders' pitch consists mainly of the latest buzzwords.

2. They are either all technical or all sales/marketing.

3. They have a blind belief in the product despite repeated market signals and iterations.

4. Their only fallback plan is to "monetize the data".

5. They value equity more than revenue.

_448 15 days ago

For a cursory understanding of whether you will stay together is this (note that I did not say "you all will be successful". Because startups rarely do what they set out to do; they change a lot during initial phase):

0. How long have the two co-founders been together? What is the chemistry between them.

1. How resourceful are they? Will they be able to make things work when things start to looking gloomy? Gauge their energy level and enthusiasm in general.

2. The project they are working on, how far are they in the project? How did they achieve that progress?

Get answers to these questions and you will be in a better position to make a decision.

Founder age does not (and should not) matter. Being junior has its own set of advantages.

And even if they don't have prior startup experience their resourcefulness should cover that up. Even experienced founders fail.

sargstuff 15 days ago

No feedback / discussion on why didn't get accepted.