What are some strategies to avoid the pitfalls of companies that ultimately fail?

Work on real work.  Stay focused on building a product your users love and hitting your growth targets.  Try to have a board and peers who will make you hold yourself accountable.  Make the mistake of focusing too much on what matters most, not too little, and relentlessly protect your time from everything else.

Sam Altman in The Post-YC Slump
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What are some strategies to avoid the pitfalls of companies that ultimately fail?

What happens if I focus on growth too soon?

A startup that prematurely targets a growth goal often ends up making a nebulous product that some users sort of like and papering over this with ‘growth hacking’.  That sort of works—at least, it will fool investors for awhile until they start digging into retention numbers—but eventually the music stops.

Sam Altman in Before Growth
What happens if I focus on growth too soon?

What’s the best way to grow my company?

The most sustainable (and cheapest) kind of growth is word-of-mouth growth. The most sustainable (and cheapest) kind of growth is word-of-mouth growth. It’s dangerous to spend all your mental energy on incremental improvements when what you really need is a step change.

Sam Altman in Premature optimization and The Only Way to Grow Huge
What’s the best way to grow my company?