There’s an informative list of (57) ’lessons learned’ from a startup here. The insights are divided into 9 categories. Here’s some examples from each (see article for all 57):
Fire people that are difficult, unproductive, unreliable, have no product sense, or aren’t pragmatic. Do it quickly.
Most investor advice is very good for optimizing and scaling a working business. Listen to it.
Most investor advice isn’t very good for building a magical product. Nobody can help you build a magical product — that’s your job.
Educating a market that doesn’t want your product is a losing battle. Stick to your ideals and vision, but respect trends. If you believe the world needs iambic pentameter poetry, sell hip hop, not sonnets.
Build a product people want to buy in spite of rough edges, not because there are no rough edges. The former is pleasant and highly paid, the latter is unpleasant and takes forever.
Don’t guess. Measure.
Sales fix everything. You can screw up everything else and get through it if your product sells well.
Beware of long projects. If you can’t fit it into a sprint, don’t build it.
8. Company administration
Take the time to find a good, inexpensive lawyer. It will make a difference.
9. Personal well-being
Every once in a while, get away. Go hiking, visit family in another city, go dancing, play chess, tennis, anything. It will make you more effective and make the people around you happier.
In spite of the financial situation, friends continue to develop startups, which is quite inspiring. The examples above indicate how tricky it can be.