Quotes for Entrepreneurs – February 2009

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Quotes, skmurphy

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“Innovation is ultimately not an act of intellect but of will.”
Joseph Schumpeter

Many entrepreneurs are stubborn discontent dreamers. Successful entrepreneurs typically stress their ability to persevere as an element of their success.

Schumpeter also coined the term “creative destruction” as an essential element of capitalism.

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“What gets measured gets done.
What gets measured and fed back gets done well.
What gets rewarded gets repeated.”
John Earl Jones

I cannot find a date or specific cite on this one, but it nicely combines a number of different rules about the impact of measurement and rewards on performance.

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“A strategy is a plan that integrates an organization’s major goals, policies, and action sequences into a cohesive whole.”
James Brian Quinn from “Strategies for Change: Logical Incrementalism

Full quote:

“A strategy is a plan that integrates an organization’s major goals, policies, and action sequences into a cohesive whole. A well formulated strategy helps marshal and allocate an organization’s resources into a unique and viable posture based upon its relative internal competencies and shortcomings, anticipated changes in the environment, and contingent moves by intelligent opponents.”

I really like the full quote, it’s a useful checklist for determining if you have all of the elements for a strategy.

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“Nothing lasts longer than a temporary fix or an interim solution.”
Sean Murphy

I know that quoting yourself is the beginning of senility (or worse, pompous self-importance that leads to irrelevance). Although my sons may tell you the onset of senility is marked by starting a story with “When I was a boy…”

Update March 15: I found this quote in “Quotable Business” by Louis E. Boone:

“If you’ve never seen a real, fully developed look of disgust, just tell your son how you conducted yourself when you were a boy.”
Frank McKinney (Kin) Hubbard

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“You get the best out of others when you give the best of yourself.”
Harvey S. Firestone

It’s not just money or the promise of money that attracts talent and energizes it: it’s our own example as founders. I had a coffee break with an old friend who was now CEO of a 30 employee high tech firm and he told me he got some good advice before he took the job as a first time CEO:

“employees will listen respectfully but will watch what you do as the guide for their own actions. I get into the office early most mornings and I try to stay on an even keel emotionally: I don’t want people wondering if this is a good day to bring me bad news, they can see me early any morning they care to.”

Firestone had another interesting quote

“I can walk through the front door of any factory and out the back and tell you if it’s making money or not. I can just tell by the way it’s being run and by the spirit of the workers.”
Harvey S. Firestone

I have noticed the same thing walking into an engineering environment. Some feel dead, some have energy: both may be quiet but one can be crackling with the concentration of a final exam room.

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“It is only when the rich are sick that they fully feel the impotence of wealth.”
Charles Caleb Colton

One of the many limits to what a fortune can do for you. Colton also observed

“How small a portion of our life is that we really enjoy.  In youth we are looking forward to things that are to come; in old age, we are looking backwards to things that have gone past. In things that are present, even that is too often absorbed in vague determination to be vastly happy on some future day, when we have time.”

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“It is a most mortifying reflection for a man to consider what he has done, compared to what he might have done.”
Samuel Johnson

I think is true for our lives as well as our businesses. It’s terrible to feel that you have been “weighed and found wanting.

Robert Browning may have put this more positively with his

“Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?”
Robert Browning in Andrea Del Sarto

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“Entrepreneurship is the last refuge of the troublemaker.”
Natalie Clifford Barney

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“I think you can learn from other’s failures, but the only way to really really get your money’s worth out of failure is your own.”
Randy Komisar

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“The glass is 1/100th full.”
Doc Searls (on his personal perspective as a technology optimist).

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