Archive for October 31, 2012

Quotes for Entrepreneurs–October 2012

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Quotes, skmurphy

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“Routine is an early stage of decay.”
Hans Kudszus

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“A year from now you may wish you had started today.”
Karen Lamb

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“In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences.”
Robert Ingersoll

Used as closing quote for “Julian Fellowes on Persistence, Logical Consequences, and Getting Started

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“Before you’ll change, something important must be at risk.”
Richard Bach

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“Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically.”
Marcus Aurelius

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“Effective innovations start small. They are not grandiose. They try to do one specific thing.”
Peter Drucker “Innovation and Entrepreneurship”

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“Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is.”
Thomas Szasz

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“The bulk of innovation is low-amplitude and takes place over a long period. Companies should focus on refining existing technologies as much as on creation”
Bill Buxton “The Long Nose of Innovation

Referenced in Startups Should Focus on Innovation and Impact Before Growth

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“I want the definition of startup back. To be used by anybody who is willing to take the risk to quit their corporate job and go out and try and build an innovative, disruptive, tech-enabled business that tries to change the way things work in the world.”
Mark Suster in “Is Going For Rapid Growth Always Good? Aren’t Startups So Much More?

quoted in Startups Should Focus on Innovation and Impact Before Growth

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“Success generally depends upon knowing how long it takes to succeed.”
Charles de Montesquieu

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“Don’t wait to reconnect with folks who have made a difference in your life.”
Sean Murphy

Used as closing line on “Uncle’s Day” and “Your Startup Is Only One of Many Obligations

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“A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of idea.”
John Ciardi

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“The challenge for a mature company is channeling the energy of internal competition into constructive external activity, which is not easy. ”
Larry Lang quoted in “Managing Incentives

More context

Fundamentally, a company consists of people, and their aggregate behaviors determine its direction. That behavior inevitably changes as the company matures. During hyper-growth, spending time on internal politics is generally irrational. Why waste time picking pockets when it’s raining money? But as growth slows, the rewards grow sparser, so spending time on internal competition makes more rational sense. At Cisco’s size, how much can any one employee make the stock price go up (assuming they hold enough stock to care)? Instead, they invest more time ensuring the reward-dispensing leadership, up to the CEO, holds them in greater esteem than their peers. You can wish this behavior weren’t true, you can decry it as evil, but objectively it becomes rational strategy for the individual employee.

If you accept this inversion in the “motivational magnetic field,” then the main failing of John Chambers and the senior leadership team is not adjusting their compass to navigate by it. The challenge for a mature company is channeling the energy of internal competition into constructive external activity, which is not easy.

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“In any field, find the strangest thing and then explore it.”
John Archibald Wheeler

h/t Gerald Weinberg (@JerryWeinberg)

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“If you knew how much work went into it, you would not call it genius.”
Michelangelo

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“While the voice of an idea may appear to be individual, in fact the emergence of new ideas is a collective effort.”
Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, CA

h/t Evelyn Rodriguez, quoted in Evelyn Rodriguez Envisions a Silicon Valley Renaissance of Art & Culture

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