Stop failing and start learning!

The number one reason startups fail? Building things that the market neither wants or needs! Imagine that? Smart people committing themselves to a startup journey that consumes significant resources of time, money, energy and perspiration to ultimately be a flop because nobody buys it!

And it's such a common thing that across the world it is collectively the #1 failure reason. More than funding or team or technology barriers. Amazing!

Of course, it should be expected, as innovation by its very nature is thinking about things differently. It means others have not trod that ground before, so it may not be what the market expects or is prepared to pay for. A market is of course a collective set of buying decisions made in themselves by individuals. Of course innovation also brings products to market that can be a bit rough and ready. They are a leap of faith for early adopters and not the passion of mainstream purchases until proven, refined and polished. 

There is a common logic that innovation happens the best when it is not constrained by existing thinking. It is why younger entrepreneurs (and indeed children) are normally at the forefront of entrepreneurship. They do not need to unlearn, or even learn, about the status quo to break away from it. They simply see the world differently from the start. 

We are all constrained however in terms of our time on the planet, our energy and abilities while here and the number of things we can actually achieve. So to waste o much of it might be considered by some as reckless.

I love a good demo night! Not a pitch for funds, not slide shows or powerpoint extravaganzas but a demo of ideas and interactive feedback loops with the audience. I love it because it's fun. I love it for the energy. I love it for the people I meet and most of all I love it because it helps startups to succeed. 

In the moments of a demo night where early stage ideas meet a crowd of 150+ smart people there is a speed and intensity to the thought processes that cannot be matched anywhere. I've seen the effects in India, UK, USA and now also Portugal and everywhere the results of a good demo night are the same: progress, and progress that is market led rather than product push.

With a choice to go to pretty any event I always make a special place in my diary for demo nights. I even time my travelling abroad to include a demo night vibe and be part of the energy and environment. It's like an entire startup ecosystem experience in one night!

Here are some of the demo nights I like to go to, all run by amazing teams:

  • Lisbon:
  • Exeter:
  • London:
  • Boston:


Stewart Noakes