I don’t mean you from the view of a CEO rather than as an employee. Maybe nobody ever will say that the company failed. So it’s up to you to recognize patterns and signs. The sooner the better. Be aware of subtle signs that show that something is wrong in your company. Signs are most subtle and not always obvious in the first place.
You got your last paycheck several month ago. This migh be the most obvious sign but sometimes it’s not. On the first few months you don’t think about it. Especially if you are self-employed and work for a startup company. Clients don’t always pay in time. You think quitting one day after the first missed deadline is not fair to the company. But you should stop working. Even if it’s only for a few days or a week. No money no work.
More than 50% of your colleagues are on vacation after you came back from your own vacation. Or maybe you saw a couple of colleague days ago. On the first days you don’t think about them. It’s normal that people take days off. But after a while you wonder why the hell they are still on vacation.
CEO/Project managersdon’t bother you anymore. First you recognize that the CEO/project manager hasn’t teased you since days. Days become a week. A week become weeks or months. You started writing unit tests for the first time. You feel free. But that’s only another subtle sign that something is wrong.
Of course there are many more signs. These are my experiences with Startups so far.