What went wrong in your first start-up?

In my first failed start-up, I did what is now considered standard advice and it was an utter failure (which might explain why I still question all advice, no matter how standard). 

The software was a small business system for manufacturers and distributors. I was the technical person, my co-founder was the business person. 

How we did things:

- We determined the customers' most critical requirements. 

- We built what they needed from those requirements. 

- We installed the hardware and software. 

- We got them up and running in test mode. 

- We adjusted, reworked, and went live.


What ended up happening:

- Critical features were invariably missed. I had to add them. 

- There was always some scaling issue we missed. Always. 

- Architecture had to be reworked with every install.

- My co-founder was able to sell far faster than I could build. 

- My co-founder was unable to help me build. 

- Customers became disillusioned. 

- I collapsed, vowing never to go through this again. 

What I now believe:

- Make sure your MVP is enough. 

- Beware being consumed by customer service. 

- The first two founders must be technical. 

- Your architecture must scale, even if your app doesn't. 

- Always be brutally honest with each other at all times. 

- Make sure all your failures are recoverable ones. 

- Plan for 40 hours/week. Stop working at 80. 

- Never quit. Start over, but never quit.