How to F*ck Up Your Startup – Kim Hvidkjaerng Book Summary

How to F*ck Up Your Startup – Kim Hvidkjaerng | Free Book Summary

How to F*ck Up Your Startup – Kim Hvidkjaerng

“How to F*ck Up Your Startup” is a book written by Kim Hvidkjaerng and published in 2019. The book focuses on the mistakes entrepreneurs make when starting a business and provides strategies and advice on how to avoid them.

It covers topics such as hiring the wrong people, not understanding the customer, ignoring the competition, and failing to plan for the future.

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The things that make you lose momentum

Not Starting

Life You can’t win the race you don’t start. Don’t let your startup go stagnant on the starting block. Get set. Take a breath. Run.

Impostor SyndromeFree book, podcast summaries

That momentary worry about not being qualified or enough of an expert to do something can be healthy. Letting it consume you to the point of inaction isn’t.

The Passion Pinch

Following your passion is not enough to achieve success in today’s highly competitive business environment but without it, you’re completely screwed.


Imagine the circus act where a performer sets multiple plates spinning on their hands, shoulders, head, and knees. It’s fun to watch but hard to do.

Lone-Wolf Syndrome

As a solo founder, you have full control and all the profits, but also all the problems, losses, hardship, investments, footwork, and anxiety—and an increased risk of failure.

Things not working out? Why?

A Poor Business Plan

A surprising number of businesses fail simply because they fail to produce a meaningful business plan.

Idiot Industry

Your choice of industry directly affects your outcome. It’s better to be an idiot in an intelligent industry than intelligent in an idiot industry.

The Problem-Less Solution

Starting with the solution instead of the actual problem is a real problem. No problems to be solved equals no profits to be gained.

Terrible Timing

Who knows the cliché “timing is everything”? Like most clichés, this one is true. Understanding your industry gives you great timing insight.


Entrepreneurs have a tendency to think “too big” in the early stages of a startup, but many startups fail because the founders think too small too soon.

The Do not do list!

Doppelganger Danger

Cloning usually fails. Copy all you want, and you’ll always be one step behind. Stay original with your startup and let the world copy you.

Customers—What Customers?

Founders and CEOs, meet your true boss: your customers. Your customer is in charge and can fire everybody in your company. Pay adequate attention to them.

Messed-Up MVP

Not having a minimal viable product makes your startup as likely to succeed as a team without a single Most Valuable Player.

Analysis Paralysis

Bogged down by statistics, research, and more? Stop and take a breather. Research is essential to making sound business decisions, but don’t let it stop you from making a decision at all.

Cheating and Ripping People Off

It sounds like a no-brainer, but the temptation to cheat your way to possible success is a real problem in the startup world. Spoiler alert: It never ends well.

Getting Funded

If you aren’t independently wealthy with money to burn, funding is something that cannot be ignored when creating a startup.

Things not working out again? Look here!

Convoluting Capital

There is such a thing as “too much money,” just as there is “not enough money.” Keeping capital simple is essential. A good startup can get funded. A bad startup can burn through capital.

The Cap-Table Capsize

There are only a few mistakes that cannot be undone. Messing with your cap table is one of those. Be the captain of your table.

Amateur Accounting

When it comes to running a business, if you don’t have a background in business accounting, save yourself a lot of time and hassle by finding an expert who can help.

The Big Bang Release:

Avoid releasing products with a bang, as it can be dangerous and harmful for your business.

The stuff that can go wrong part 1

The Mashup:

Combining two good things doesn’t always result in something great, especially in the startup world.

Identity Crisis:

Founders often waste time on identity, but in reality, most identities have little impact. Focus on more important matters.

Overcorrecting Success and Failure:

Don’t assume that success at one startup guarantees success at the next. It’s often the opposite.

The Flawed Founding Team:

Build a team that complements each other’s strengths and weaknesses instead of copying each other.

Hiring Freeze:

Avoiding hiring can have serious consequences. Startups must know when and who to hire for success.

Firing Phobia:

Don’t be afraid to fire employees who aren’t the right fit. Startups need the right people in the right positions.

The stuff that can go wrong part 2

Awful Accountability:

Ignoring accountability can lead to startup failure. Hold yourself and others accountable for success.

The Forever CEO:

A startup may no longer need its founder over time. Plan ahead for this possibility.

Poor Pivoting:

If Plan A fails, keep pivoting through the alphabet. Don’t give up too soon.

Wrong-Work Distractions:

Avoid distractions that take you away from important tasks. Know where to focus your time and energy.

Take care!

Bad Decisions:

Timing is everything when making decisions. Even a correct decision can be wrong if made at the wrong time.

Overcomplicating Operations:

Simplicity leads to growth. Avoid appointing committees for simple problems.

Growing Too Fast:

Growing pains can be harmful. Avoid growing too fast and focus on sustainable growth.

Giving Up Too Soon:

Perseverance is key to building a successful company. Don’t give up when faced with challenges.

Not Knowing When to Quit:

There is a difference between giving up too soon and rationally knowing when it’s time to quit.

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