The old American adage says "Experience is cheapest second-hand".
That also applies to startup leaders (like you).
A great way to learn quickly is to read a book from an a bold author who has written "in your face" about a famous startup leader of a famous startup. A fresh book I recommend is The Facebook Effect. Its author has exposed the dark side and bad decisions as well as the light side and good decisions of the megasuccessful Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg.
As you read it, I suggest you apply this thinking criteria to your observations about what happened, then apply the same criteria to your startup:
- Who was to benefit and how from the original idea for the new enterprise?
- How did the first idea morph, change, move on to become successively different, month ofter month, year after year?
- What was driving the founder to push for success of the enterprise? (Yes,this is shrink the head thinking time)
- Who decided to join the founder, and why?
- What investors decided to join the founder, and why?
- What was "the big break" that "made the company" great (moved it from tiny to amazing)? (Time to also consider the proverbial "Lady Luck")
- What role did "kids" have in the good and the bad decisions?
- What role did the "old people" have in the good and bad decisions?
- What is the founder most interested in?
- Who is the founder most interested in?
That should help you shape a series of questions to apply to your business dream. Perhaps you'll do better than Zuckerberg.
BOTTOM LINE: Doing an anatomical analysis ("dig into the guts, find the dark sides as well as the good") works for startups as well as living bodies. Similarly it exposes the truth about what happened and gives the thinker lessons to be applied immediately. Startups are living bodies. So are their leaders. When you can do a deep dive analysis of your startup (any startup,in fact) as well as yourself, you'll be able to build an unfair competitive advantage your competition will see as overwhelming. Read and listen, ask and learn. Those are characteristics of the greats who become leaders of great startups. You can be one of them.