Background Note | HBS Case Collection | January 2011 (Revised October 2012)

Strengths Become Weaknesses: Cognitive Biases in Founder Decision-Making

by Noam T. Wasserman and Kyle Anderson


This note combines vignettes and scholarly research to outline the cognitive biases and decision-making strategies that influence key decisions in the founding process. It is argued that the same biases which provide early benefits can later prove to be a weakness for the startup, and that founders must learn to identify their biases and work to balance them out with sound advice and dispassionate analysis.

Keywords: Decision Making; Cognition and Thinking;


Wasserman, Noam T., and Kyle Anderson. "Strengths Become Weaknesses: Cognitive Biases in Founder Decision-Making." Harvard Business School Background Note 811-068, January 2011. (Revised October 2012.)