"I can resist anything but temptation."
Three deadly temptations, indeed. There are, of course, many, many more. But three is a good number in a headline - enough to matter, not enough to scare people away.
So which three has Jim Flowers selected for today's sermon? Well, I recently re-read the Book of Pride and found several variations on that time-honored theme that bear directly and regularly on start-up businesses. Succumb to these temptations and you risk serious damage or even failure.
Deadly Temptation Number One: attack on too many fronts. When your product may be reasonably applied across a variety of markets or industries, it's really easy to lose focus and spread yourself too thin. Example, suppose you invent a uniquely effective point-of-sale advertising device. Such an item might be valuable to any business that sells something in a face-to-face mode. That would include at least book stores, restaurants, and real estate agents. Just imagine the variations required in your pricing models, promotional schemes, distribution channels, and even niche-specific product features to address all those markets. One set of Magic tricks simply can't mystify all audiences.
Deadly Temptation Number Two: underestimate your competition. I've talked about this before. How many times have you heard someone say "We really don't have any competitors. Our product is truly revolutionary." Ha! If you really have no competition, then there may well be no market at all. At a minimum your prospects have the option to take no action whatsoever, leaving you with a great product, but no sales.
Deadly Temptation Number Three: believe your own hype. There are fine distinctions between and among appropriate self-confidence, pride, and vanity. The first is about reliably knowing that you are good by some independent set of measures. The second is about personally valuing your "goodness" above that of others. The third is about valuing the opinions of others above your verifiable worth.
There is, as you might expect, a vast library of thoughtful commentaries on pride and its close relatives. Here is a sampling...
"Swallow your pride, you will not die, it's not poison."
"Pride grows in the human heart like lard on a pig."