Are You Running a Zombie Startup?

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"Con la Ciudad destruída, el sol oscurecido. Abandonen toda esperanza." by Eneas De Troya

Referly recently announced that they are discontinuing their cash rewards program. Danielle Morrill, CEO and a founder of Referly, recently wrote about why the company is making this change:

“It has been 6 months since Demo Day and I don’t think anyone has officially died. So I’ll say it. Referly died. It’s not the kind of dead where the website goes dark and everyone gets jobs somewhere else. But the idea that we started with turned out to be the wrong one, so we killed it and yesterday I acknowledged publicly to ourselves and everyone else that we have to change our course.”

Basically, Danielle realized Referly was in zombie mode.  Danielle shared some tips on how to recognize whether or not you’re running a zombie startup [excerpted from her blog]:

    • You don’t want to get out of bed in the morning
    • You don’t want to go out in public for fear you’ll have to explain what you do
    • You haven’t hit 10% week-over-week growth on any meaningful metric (revenue, active users, etc)
    • You’re working on the same idea after 12+ months and still haven’t launched
    • You’ve launched a consumer service and have less than 2% week-over-week growth in signups
    • You’ve launched an enterprise service and have less than 2% week-over-week growth in revenue pipeline
    • You are the CEO and hole yourself up in the offices so you don’t have to talk to employees and can read TechCrunch
    • You’ve hired consultants to figure out revenue, culture, or product in a company of less than 10 people
    • You’re at SXSW right now reading this post and trying not to cry

It is a very candid blog post about how Danielle came to the conclusion she did about her company… and why they are moving forward.

“No one is going to tell you that your company is a zombie. Except me. Don’t waste your 20s, or 30s, or 40s being a zombie.”

~ Danielle Morrill


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Image Credit:
Eneas De Troya