Quotes For Entrepreneurs–February 2011

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Quotes, skmurphy

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“So writing requirements is a composition of unambiguous narratives emerging from the problem domain.”
Sergio Bogazzi

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“The bootstrapper’s key early milestone is the first dollar of revenue from a customer willing to act as a reference.”
Sean Murphy in “Handout for Mapping The Path to Your First Dollar of Revenue

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“You don’t see something until you have the right metaphor to let you perceive it. ”
Robert Stetson Shaw

Quoted in James Gleick’s Chaos:

They had a game they would play, sitting at a coffee house. They would ask: How far away is the nearest strange attractor? Was it that rattling automobile fender? A fluttering leaf? “You don’t see something until you have the right metaphor to perceive it,” Shaw said, echoing Thomas S. Kuhn.

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“Here’s the thing: there isn’t a shortage of ideas. There’s a shortage of execution.”
Seth Godin “Understanding Business Development

More context (emphasis added):

I regularly hear from readers who are frustrated because a big company wasn’t willing to hear a great idea they mailed in.  Here’s the thing: there isn’t a shortage of ideas. There’s a shortage of execution. That means that successful business development teams look for proven partners and organizations with momentum. A key part of that is the decision to say no early and quickly and respectfully to people who don’t meet that threshold.

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“The entrepreneur builds an enterprise; the technician builds a job.”
Michael Gerber

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Jamie Zawinski’s resignation from Netscape has three great quotes

  • We put the Internet in the hands of normal people. We kick-started a new communications medium. We changed the world.
  • There exist counterexamples to this, but in general, great things are accomplished by small groups of people who are driven, who have unity of purpose.
  • two kinds of people: those who want to go work for a company to make it successful, and those who want to go work for a successful company.

Opening Paragraphs

April 1st, 1999 will be my last day as an employee of the Netscape Communications division of America Online, and my last day working for mozilla.org.

Netscape has been a great disappointment to me for quite some time. When we started this company, we were out to change the world. And we did that. Without us, the change probably would have happened anyway, maybe six months or a year later, and who-knows-what would have played out differently. But we were the ones who actually did it. When you see URLs on grocery bags, on billboards, on the sides of trucks, at the end of movie credits just after the studio logos — that was us, we did that. We put the Internet in the hands of normal people. We kick-started a new communications medium. We changed the world.

But we did that in 1994 and 1995. What we did from 1996 through 1999 was coast along, riding the wave caused by what we did before.

Why? Because the company stopped innovating. The company got big, and big companies just aren’t creative. There exist counterexamples to this, but in general, great things are accomplished by small groups of people who are driven, who have unity of purpose. The more people involved, the slower and stupider their union is.

And there’s another factor involved, which is that you can divide our industry into two kinds of people: those who want to go work for a company to make it successful, and those who want to go work for a successful company. Netscape’s early success and rapid growth caused us to stop getting the former and start getting the latter.

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Entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a practice.”
Peter Drucker

Update June 27, 2011: This is a great quote that I use to open “A Scientific Approach to Startups Won’t Create ‘A Science of Startups’

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“Remember, the essence of lean is the scientific method. Form a hypothesis and test it. Opinions have little value outside that framework.”
John Prendergast

Context is an e-mail from John to Lean Startup Circle mailing list:

As an aside, most of the requests for landing page feedback here have been a little misguided.

The only general feedback you should care about on a landing page in a smoke test is, drumroll, from potential customers in the form of behavior. Do they convert based on your value proposition? Unless this group is really your target (which has been true in a few cases) then general feedback makes little sense. Even then, you want this groups behavior not opinion.

This group can be much more useful once you’ve got some baseline data. Bring data to the group and many people with fine minds who are generous with their time will jump in and help diagnose and interpret.

Remember, the essence of lean is the scientific method. Form a hypothesis and test it. Opinions have little value outside that framework.

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“Tell everyone what you want to do and someone will want to help you do it.”
W. Clement Stone

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“An important key to success is self-confidence.
An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”
Arthur Ashe

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“Never give up what you have seen for what you have heard.”
Swahili proverb quoted in “Wisdom of the Soul for Black Folk

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“I am more alive than most people. I am an unpopular electric eel set in a pond of goldfish.”
Dame Edith Sitwell 1887-1964

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“As the births of living creatures are at first ill-shapen, so are all innovations, which are the births of time.”
Francis Bacon

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“A really dangerous man generally tries to avoid trouble.”
Edward Howe “Country Town Sayings”

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“If there is something you must do and you cannot do it, you cannot do anything else.”
Mignon McLaughlin

I used this as the opening quote for “Getting Unstuck.”

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