Quotes for Entrepreneurs – August 2009

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Quotes, skmurphy

Fired point blank on http://www.twitter.com/skmurphy you can catch these quotes for entrepreneurs on the blog at the end of the month. Enter your E-mail if you would like Feedburner to deliver new blog posts to your inbox.

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“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Winston Churchill

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“As I’ve said many times, the future is already here. It’s just not very evenly distributed.”
William Gibson

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“Each prototype iteration tests your most pressing business assumption. Work back from your ignorance, don’t just trim features.”
Kent Beck

Paraphrased from an Aug-6-2009 message on “Minimum Viable Product” in Lean Startup Circle

“The purpose of the MVP is to answer your most pressing question or validate your most pressing business assumption. Work backwards from question, not forwards from a feature list.”

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“I am from the future and things work better there: abandon your ignorance and embrace what’s coming.”
Unfortunately typical startup pitch, observation triggered by a DAC pitch from a vendor.

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“Expectations create blind spots which conceal small errors that are growing and delay recognition of unexpected threats.”
Karl Weick and Kathleen Sutcliffe in Chapter 2: Expectations and Mindfulness of Managing the Unexpected: Resilient Performance in the Age of Uncertainty

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“All Successful Systems Attract Parasites”
Tom Ray quoted in Kevin Kelly’s “Out of Control” Chapter 15

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“People will abuse any unmanaged network to promote their financial livelihood.”
Jason Moncur on “Social Media

Context (bolding added)

“Remember that the first spam e-mail was sent May 3, 1978 at the very dawn of the e-mail age, even though there was rule to only use it for education and research. People will abuse any unmanaged network to promote their financial livelihood. Google is an amazing tool to find information unless you are searching about something that is sold or made money from, and then the information is buried under tons of links that are really advertisements. People even create pages with the knowledge of how Google works in order to trick you into visiting. How long before we see companies manipulating tags and reviews to drum up business? Oh wait that already has happened.”

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“True learning involves figuring out how to use what you already know in order to go beyond what you already think.”
Jerome Bruner  in In Search of Mind: Essays in Autobiography.

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“Even those who learn from history are surrounded by those doomed to repeat it.”
blogger Thomas Crown (pseudonym)

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“Genius is born from a thousand failures. Constant, continuous, ubiquitous experimentation is the most important thing.”
Greg Linden quoted in “The New Faster Face of Innovation

Context:

“Genius is born from a thousand failures,” says Greg Linden, an entrepreneur who has been an innovator at both Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. “In each failed test, you learn something that helps you find something that will work. Constant, continuous, ubiquitous experimentation is the most important thing.”

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“….as a rule the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents.”
Arthur Schopenhauer in Parerga and Paralipomena

Context:

“Buying books would be a good thing if one could also buy the time to read them in: but as a rule the purchase of books is mistaken for the appropriation of their contents.”

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“Using empowerment, dialog, or engagement as a fig leaf for traditional marketing really, truly, deeply pisses people off.”
Marc Danziger in “The Three Body Problem and the Axis of Moderation

Context:

In my work life I caution clients about using community and the explicit promise of empowerment, dialog, and engagement as a fig leaf for traditional marketing. It really, truly, deeply pisses people off.

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“Real-life networks are often very different from the ideal ones pictured in economics textbooks: exploit irregularities.”
Chris Dixon in “Six Strategies for Overcoming ‘Chicken and Egg’ Problems

Context:

3. Exploit irregular network topologies. In the last 90s, most people assumed that dating websites was a “winner take all market” and Match.com had won it, until a swath of niche competitors arose (e.g. Jdate) that succeeded because certain groups of people tend to date others from that same group.  Real-life networks are often very different from the idealized, uniformly distributed networks pictured in economics textbooks.  Facebook exploited the fact that social connections are highly clustered at colleges as a “beachhead” to challenge much bigger incumbents (Friendster).  By finding clusters in the network smaller companies can reach critical mass within those sub-clusters and then expand beyond.

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“If they give you lined paper, write the other way.”
e. e. cummings

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