Is your advice killing startups?

Today, the 500 Startups Mentor thread has had some very interesting back and forth about how to mentor startups  and more importantly,  how to measure mentor quality and advice.  While I cannot share the previous thoughts on the thread, I can share my two cents:

A lot of thoughtful comments on the topic of mentoring — allow me to throw something into the mix:

I wonder how much of our advice is actually iatrogenic in nature. How often have we done our best to give what we thought was pure contextual gold, the hapless patie—- I mean, startup founder,
followed it to the letter and they became measurably worse off because it? Like a doctor accidentally prescribing the wrong medicine, we, unintentionally but well-meaningly, have caused damage or injury.

The concept of iatrogenesis for startup founders isn’t ever discussed in startup-land, but should be.

If you want to extend this line of thinking — how do startup incubators/accelerators measure & prevent “nosocomial infections” between startups? In other words, how does one identify and prevent bad habits/practices from spreading amongst startups within the confines of an investment vehicle?

In the past, I have suggested to Bjorn and Max from Startup Genome think about this for their purposes. Someone please run with this.

PS — Go pre-buy The Lean Entrepreneur. Thanks.

PPS — Who is the Ignác Semmelweis of startups?
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