Quotes for Entrepreneurs — May 2010

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Quotes, skmurphy

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“Steve Blank has famously (at least within this community) referred to the conference as a “Woodstock for entrepreneurs.” In its wake, I’m going to respectfully disagree. The Westin wasn’t Max Yasgur’s farm; it was The High School of Performing Arts, the magnet school featured in the movie Fame. We weren’t there because we wanted to watch the performers on the stage…We were there because we wanted to be the performers. We needed to learn how they did it.”
Kurt Carr @kurtbcarr in “My Lessons Learned Introduction

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“Sometimes lack of income is the mother of tenacity.”
Stefan Reitshamer @reitshamer in Hacker News Item 1322377
in reference to “How To Bootstrap Your Company to Profitability

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“it’s not the answer that enlightens but the question.”
Eugene Ionesco

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

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“If you think 3 months spent hacking something together for demo day is the best way to start up, you’re wrong.” Sean Fioritto in “Steve Blank Is My Hero

More context:

Steve has taken what used to be considered the ‘innate talent’ of an entrepreneur and put it in book form. It turns out you  can teach this stuff.  Customer Development is the biggest nugget of gold behind the Lean Startup…I sometimes worry that the Hacker News crowd has their marketing bullshit filters turned up a little bit too high and they’re missing what I think is the beginning of a new wave of entrepreneurship. If you think spending three months hacking together something for demo day represents the very best way to start up, you’re wrong…You can be faster and smarter.

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“It’s no trick to play upon an entrepreneur’s fears. It’s not a useful trait in an advisor.”
Sean Murphy in Hacker News Item 1379458

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“If you answer that corporations have no souls, I’ll say: ‘Friend, you were never more mistaken in your life. The business that has no soul soon ceases to exist; and the success of a company or corporation turns on the kind of soul it possesses. Soul is necessary to service. Courtesy, kindness, honesty and efficiency are tangible soul-assets; and all good railroad men know it.'”
Elbert Hubbard

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“Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong.”
David Fasold

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“Arrange whatever pieces come your way.”
Virginia Woolf

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“Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions.”
A. A. Latimer

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“A/B tests do not substitute for talking to users, usability tests, acceptance tests, unit tests, or thinking.” Ben Tilly in “Effective A/B Testing

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“When your most creative thoughts in the middle of a disaster revolve around protecting your position, you are summoning trouble. When you try to dodge ownership of a problem, when you try to hide from responsibility, life will give you ownership and responsibility the hard way.”
Peggy Noonan in “He Was Supposed To Be Competent

A good reminder for founders to focus on solving problems.

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When the cost to play the startup game is next to nothing, the cost of making mistakes is tiny, too, as is the cost to pivot. Therefore, there is little pressure to be correct or even to have a good idea. You can just keep having and trying ideas at little or no cost, and eventually one of them will be good enough for you to build a business. You can pivot your way to success instead of tediously crafting your way there.

The interesting point to ponder is whether this current web-based startup environment will be around more than a couple of years. Is it a brief anomaly, or is it the new business-as-usual? And should you be pivoting towards it? Should I?

Alan Cooper in “To Pivot or Not to Pivot

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