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Startup success is never a magic bullet. Hardest part about running a new business is knowing what to prioritize.

12 months ago | From medium | Author: Nir Eyal

Statistically speaking, your odds of a big-time payday are somewhere between zero and almost zero.

Okay. We all know these stats. But, please, read them again:
Ninety-two percent of startups fail within three years. Only one percent of apps in the Apple App Store are financially successful. And even for the fortunate few companies that raise venture funding, seventy-five percent will fail to generate a return on investors’ capital.

Why do some companies scale to millions of users while others wallow in obscurity? What explains the runaway success of a company like Facebook while a startup like Viddy, a mobile app for video, attracted millions of users and millions of dollars in financing, only to lose both?

When it comes to startup success, there’s never a magic bullet. Yet as the British statistician George Box once wrote, “All models are wrong, but some are useful.”

Perhaps the hardest part about running a new business is knowing what to prioritize. There are hundreds of decisions to make, and keeping sight of what’s important and what’s not is a constant challenge.

But when it comes to helping teams stay focused, I have found one model to be extremely useful: it’s called the GEM framework. The origin story of the framework is uncertain but I’ve heard a similar model was first used during the early days of LinkedIn.

A company’s job is to find a sustainable way to deliver value to customers, employees, and shareholders. To do this, the company must never lose sight of its GEM: its growth, engagement, and monetization.

       

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