What lessons that can be learned from failed start-ups? It is instructive to look back on those instances post-mortem, but it isn’t just after the doors have shut and the dust has settled that we can examine companies that have gone astray and see the missteps to avoid ourselves.
Take the recent example of WeWork. It’s by no means a failed company, despite its current struggles, and indeed might overcome and continue on to bigger and better things. But the recent spate of bad press that emerged ahead of a potential IPO cast the company in a negative light and threw a once-bright future into doubt, leading to the eventual ouster of the founder and CEO, Adam Neumann. Neumann’s is a cautionary tale for any CEO, particularly given that he took his company to heights most could only dream of before being undone by his own hubris. In examining what went wrong, here are a few of the key takeaways for founders looking to avoid his fate.