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How to trash a great MedTech startup

Just do the opposite to succeed

If you want to know how to have a successful startup in MedTech - why not understand some of the key behaviours that trash really good startups. And then do the exact opposite.

Bring in a CEO that has no idea

People are everything in a StartUp. And it starts with the person that everyone will follow - The CEO. So if you want to trash a successful startup, take the incumbent CEO that everyone loves, that created the culture, that understands startups - and replace them with a CEO that has never done a startup before. Bring in a big MedTech head from a big company and let them blindly drive a bus through the culture of a great startup. Let them try and run it like a division of a big company by thinking the answer is always "cost cutting"

Let the people with the knowledge leave

Create a toxic environment where the key people with the core knowledge and the people that got the startup to that high position just leave. Either let them leave organically or push them; and then bring in more people with no understanding of a startup or that core technology. When you let the key people leave the culture leaves, and the intrinsic "know how" that is crucial to the success and survival of the company leaves.

Bring in leadership teams that know nothing about startups or the industry.

If you really want to have bad decisions made where the blind lead the blind - bring in a group of poorly aligned people that have never done MedTech or never done startups or never been in business and let them run the show. See how fast the magic goes as the company has no confidence in leaders that make bad decisions after bad decisions - that no real MedTech startup would contemplate.

Put your product on the market when it has defects and then don't fix them

Nothing kills a startup faster than a suboptimal product with nixed features. The market will see through the faults and vote with their feet. If you want to trash your product - go up against a world class product with a suboptimal product lacking features - and then dare to ask the same money for it. Bring no added features and no cost reduction (i.e no value) - and see how the market treats the product.

Allow toxic individuals to create a culture of fear and intimidation

Nothing screams hate louder than an environment of bullying and toxicity. If you want people to hate coming to that startup every day - then allow individuals to roam free and spread that intimidation across employees. Tolerate bullying and toxicity, and make the place a miserable place to work where the best talent leaves.

Have a board that is dysfunctional & misaligned to the mission

The behaviour of the board will ultimately determine the behaviour of the company. If boards are allowed to make snap decisions that are not in the long term interest of the company - especially if they have little operational insight into the business - then they should expect bad decisions to be made and the company to ultimately fold. (Let OpenAI be an example to all.)

Crush the original mission and vision of the founders

Nothing will sap the will to live from employees more than a sudden change in the mission of the company. Everything people joined for gets crushed and people no longer understand what the leaders, the company, or even they stand for. That is an invite for them to go to a genuinely mission led company - that actually lives its mission.

Cut back as the massive competitor you took on ramps up to crush you

After the initial success of a great startup where they acted as the disrupter - the innovator - and changed the game through marketing and amazing product in a different way - take all that budget and talented people and just cut them all out to save costs. Tear the heart of your sales & marketing, and let the innovation messaging wither and die. Take all the clear and cool reasons people wanted to be with you - and just drop them. Stop being the cool kid.

Delay your product offerings and further innovations

Despite being the hot kid on the block a year ago - now allow mediocrity to creep into your R&D and allow the urgency to drop. Tolerate all new innovations to be delayed or cut. Don't continue to refine the product and bring it up to standard expected - and allow that image of product innovation to die.

Treat people like shit

Nothing screams "get me out of here" louder than seeing colleagues that built the business treated like garbage. Discarded and eliminated once they got the company to that point. If you want to send a clear message to the remaining team - treat the leavers with disdain. You'll signal hard what the culture is like now in the company.

So now do the exact opposite of what you read above

If you want a vibrant, healthy, fun to be at StartUp in MedTech, then learn the lessons of what trashes great startups (over and over again) and do everything in your power to do the opposite. People, culture, product and leadership need to be top of list every day. Give them a mission, a great product and then inspire them and look after them - and the rest will look after itself.

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