Quotes For Entrepreneurs – May 2009

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Quotes, skmurphy

Every few days I post a quotation on www.twitter.com/skmurphy that I think will be useful or thought provoking for entrepreneurs. On the last day of the month I collect all of these quotes for entrepreneurs into a blog post and add some context.

For a list of all my blog posts that are related to quotations see http://www.skmurphy.com/blog/category/quotes/ Enter your E-mail if you would like Feedburner to deliver new blog posts to your inbox.


Quotes For Entrepreneurs – May 2009

“If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.”
John Cleese

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“Too many entrepreneurs write the wrong epitaph for their failed startup: ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office.'”
Sean Murphy

Jamie Zawinski‘s “The Netscape Dorm” gives some examples:

  • Thursday, 28 July 1994, 11pm.
    I slept at work again last night; two and a half hours curled up in a quilt underneath my desk, from 11am to 1:30pm or so. That was when I woke up with a start, realizing that I was late for a meeting we were scheduled to have to argue about colormaps and dithering, and how we should deal with all the nefarious 8-bit color management issues. But it was no big deal, we just had the meeting later. It’s hard for someone to hold it against you when you miss a meeting because you’ve been at work so long that you’ve passed out from exhaustion.
  • Sunday, 5 August 1994, 5am.
    I just got home; the last time I was asleep was, let’s see, 39 hours ago. And I’m not even tired right now. I guess I’m on my second or third or eighteenth wind. I only came home because I was worried that if I stayed there any longer, I’d fall asleep at the wheel again. I didn’t want to stay down there for another night, because I really need a shower at this point; it was a hot day today, and Lou and I played some intense games of air hockey last night that got me all sweaty and disgusting. Wow, I must be tired — I just turned on the television, and MTV is actually moving too fast for me to understand it.

I incorporated this insight and the Zawinski quotes into  “Labor Day 2014: Rules for Knowledge Work Productivity

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“Aim higher than ‘be your own boss.’ My favorite definition for an entrepreneur is a prudent risk taker who bring a new idea to market.”
Sean Murphy

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“I no longer think marketing is something smart novices can figure out part-time.”
Mark Goldenson in  “Lessons From a Failed Startup.”

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“Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.”
Franklin P. Jones

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“Moore’s Law is a social contract and a road map. We tell new graduates: ‘We kept it going for 40 years, don’t screw it up’.”
Craig Barrett in “From Moore’s Laws to Barret’s Rules

Some key excerpts:

  • Don’t Mess with Moore’s Law
    This metronome of the digital age, says Mr. Barrett, isn’t really a law, but “a social contract, a road map, a sign post. It’s something to hang in front of the bright, bushy-tailed new young graduates and tell them: ‘We’ve kept this thing going for 40 years now, so don’t screw it up’ — and by God, they don’t.” Inevitably, Mr. Barrett says, every few years “some company will say, ‘What’s with the pell mell rush to improve our technology every two years? Let’s slow down to say, four years, and only have to invest half as much capital.’ It always sounds like a cool idea, and it always ends up with that company losing market share.”
  • When something works, don’t re-invent it, reproduce it
    Perhaps Mr. Barrett’s greatest contribution to the semiconductor industry was the concept of “Copy Exactly,” the absolutely exact reproduction of successful existing practices and facilities in other locations. Copy Exactly has been the key to Intel and other chip companies actually improving yield rates (the ratio of chips that actually work) even as the products themselves have become thousands of times more complex and miniaturized and fabricated by the millions. The decision not to reinvent the wheel every time was, in fact, the subject of that contentious meeting where Mr. Barrett outvoted his managers. “I got the idea from McDonald’s,” he says. “I asked myself why McDonald’s french fries tasted the same wherever I went. That’s what I told my guys, “We’re going to be the McDonald’s of semiconductors.”

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“At 3AM I get to my cabin. A blown-in window let 20 below snow go all over. Success is getting up once more than you fall.”
Roxanne Quimby in “How I Did It: Roxanne Quimby” from Inc. Magazine.

Full quote

In the early years, I had some midnight-of-your-soul type of times.
Once, I came home from a fair and found the window in my cabin blown in. Snow was all over. It was 20 below and 3 in the morning. I hadn’t made any money and the car had just barely made it there. I really believe that success is just getting up one more time than you fall. It doesn’t come from one brilliant idea, but from a bunch of small decisions that accumulate over the years. And you shouldn’t underestimate the amount of work that’s involved, the amount of fear that’s involved.

This reminds me of the Japanese proverb “Nana-Korobi, Ya-Oki” which means “Fall Down 7 Times, Stand Up 8”

More on Roxanne Quimby

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“It’s easy to give advice to first-time entrepreneurs. Lots of people will do it. Some of it is even useful.”
John Sanguinetti in “Interview with John Sanguinetti.”

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“Nothing pleases like doing business with old men. An intelligent, ethical man in old age is the testament of civilization.”
Michael Bowen in “Prick

Full Quote (hat tip http://space4commerce.blogspot.com/2009/05/cache-flush.html):

“I get a weird feeling these days. If a little knowledge is dangerous, a lifetime of learning is goddamned catastrophic. And so nothing gives me so much pleasure as doing business with old men. The survival of an intelligent, ethical man into old age is the testament of civilization.”
Michael Bowen in “Prick

I used this in A Half-Fast Entrepreneur with Half-Vast Experience.

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“A program is never less than 90% complete, and never more than 95% complete.”
Terry Baker

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“What we cannot speak of we must pass over in silence.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein‘s final proposition in “Tractatus Logico Philosophicus

The German is “Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, daruber muss man schweigen” which is the tagline for the Last Psychiatrist Blog

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