Archive for April 30, 2010

Quotes for Entrepreneurs – April 2010

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Books, Quotes, skmurphy

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“There was a long silence on the other end, a silence peculiar to conference calls when an entire group stops to think.”
Clay Shirky in “The Collapse of Complex Business Models

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“Ignorance is always ready to admire itself. Procure yourself critical friends.” Nicolas Boileau-Despreaux

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“Whenever you see a spike in self-employment in this kind of economy, you know that is involuntary entrepreneurship,” Jared Bernstein “Defying Forecasts, Job Losses Mount for 22nd Month” (September, 2003)

Cited by Chris Anderson in “The New New Economy: More Startups, Fewer Giants, Infinite Opportunity” (May 2009)

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“Hasten slowly, and without losing heart,
Put your work twenty times upon the anvil.”
Nicolas Boileau-Despreaux

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“Companies aren’t generally structured to access, absorb or utilize customer insights since they are organized by product, not by customer.” Ranjay Gulati in “Seeing Customers as Partners in Innovation

Full quote:

“Being customer-driven doesn’t mean asking customers what they want and then giving it to them. It’s about building a deep awareness of how the customer uses your product. Companies aren’t generally structured to access, absorb or utilize customer insights since they are organized by product, not by customer.” Hat tip to Mac Fowler

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“Look for an enterprise problem so bad that people will pay you to solve it and let you keep the software“.
Bill Paseman

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“There are really two killer apps for the next era of IT tech: collaboration and correlation”
James Watters in April 11 tweet

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“Honor is like an island, rugged and without a beach; once we have left it, we can never return.”
Nicolas Boileau-Despreaux

Quoted in “Honesty in Negotiations

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“We are like machines made up of redundant components, many of which are defective right from the start.”
Leonid Gavrilov & Natalia Gavrilova in “Why We Fall Apart” (IEEE Spectrum article)

Full quote:

“The quest to understand and control aging has led us, two biologists, to draw inspiration from what might seem an unlikely source: reliability engineering. The engineering approach to understanding aging is based on ideas, methods, and models borrowed from reliability theory. Developed in the late 1950s to describe the failure and aging of complex electrical and electronic equipment, reliability theory has been greatly improved over the past several decades. It allows researchers to predict how a system with a specified architecture and level of reliability of its constituent parts will fail over time.

The theory is so general in scope that it can be applied to understanding aging in living organisms as well. In the ways that we age and die, we are not so different from the machines we build. The difference, we have found, is minimized if we think of ourselves in this unflattering way: we are like machines made up of redundant components, many of which are defective right from the start.

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“Startups explore novel practices in chaotic environments, winnowing them into emergent practices for complex environments.”
Sean Murphy

I was inspired by Steve Blank’s  “startups are the search to find order in chaos” and influenced by Dave Snowden’s Cynefin framework

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“It is better to ask some of the questions than know all of the answers”
James Thurber from ‘The Scotty Who Knew Too Much” in  “Fables for our Time

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“The best money during the nascent years of a business is patient for growth but impatient for profit.”
Clayton Christensen in “The Innovator’s Solution”

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“The test of a vocation is the love of the drudgery it involves.”
Logan Pearsall Smith

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“That knowledge which stops at what it does not know, is the highest knowledge.”
Chuang Tzu

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“Startups are new businesses–not development projects—that need to discover a sustainable business model.”
William Pietri in “Responsible Technical Debt:  Not an Oxymoron

Full quote:

Startups are about learning.  For this to make sense, you have to understand two things:

  1. Startups—even software startups—are businesses, not software development projects.
  2. The point of a startup isn’t to create a software product; it’s to discover a sustainable business model.

In a startup, software development isn’t an art for its own sake; what makes sense from a pure engineering perspective may not make sense more broadly. That’s true for any business really, but it’s especially true for a startup. That’s because the main goal of a startup is to discover a valuable business. Discovery requires experimentation, and the amount you can learn is a function of the cost of your experiments.

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“Pricing is the moment of truth—all of marketing comes to focus in the pricing decision.”
Raymond Corey

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