Have we failed?

I do not know how to judge the success or failure for our startup. I joined as an employee but eventually became a CoFounder after realizing that my industry experience and market knowledge was critical to our success.  We were ‘bootstrapped’ by my CoFounder’s family investment for the last year (with a 60/30 split in his favor).  We have built several iterations of the product and sold a limited amount of product.

He is the CEO but does not seem to know what direction we should take and constantly shifts ideas and demands action on a whim.  We typically go through a few weeks of confusion and anger until we make a small step forward.  In the confusion, he can become verbally abusive and seems to be delusional about our success. I feel that we have a strong potential but the CEO cannot get the value out of it. How can we objectively evaluate our success or failure?

It feels that his primary work is to ‘manage’ and ‘manipulate’ me into producing all of the work rather than producing meaningful progress himself.  I often after a day of work feeling abused and confused.

The product is something personal to me and my past experiences. What is the smartest way to get out of this situation without sacrificing  my personal efforts?

  • You have failed. Why? Read your last sentence. Here’s the good news. You learned.

    Now, if you don’t want to fail. Work with him to get more customers for your product. The only true failure is giving up or failing to get people to pay for what you offer.

    Startups are stressful. Watching the clock without action ALWAYS leads to failure.


    It is important in a startup to maintain trust and if the other person is compromising trust by making you feel a way that is unproductive, it is important to the viability of the business to solve that.

    It sound like your CEO/CoFounder is not communicating/realizing vision which is causing frustration. That can happen if you set goals that are not SMART


    If you agree to what what specifically must be done to measure the outcome of an action’s relevance to the business by a certain time, you can manage expectations and measure outcomes.

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