Quotes For Entrepreneurs–March 2013

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Quotes, skmurphy

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“Nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person.”
Arthur Conan Doyle

From “The Silver Blaze” in Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. More context:

Watson: “You have formed a theory, then?”
Holmes: “At least I have got a grip of the essential facts of the case. I shall enumerate them to you, for nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person, and I can hardly expect your co-operation if I do not show you the position from which we start.”

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“What you see, yet can not see over, is as good as infinite.”
Thomas Carlyle in Sartor Resartus [Gutenberg]

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“Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see further.”
Thomas Carlyle

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“Doubt, of whatever kind, can be ended by action alone.”
Thomas Carlyle

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“Always look out for problems on the periphery of the main problem you’re addressing where competition may be much lower.”
Asif Khan Mandozai @asifmandozai

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“Never assume the obvious is true.”
William Safire

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“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”
Voltaire

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“The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers,
he’s one who asks the right questions.”
Claude Levi-Strauss

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“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”
Kurt Vonnegut in Mother Night

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“It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools–friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty–and said ‘do the best you can with these, they will have to do’. And mostly, against all odds, they do.”
Anne Lamott in ”Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith

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All knowledge is local, all truth is partial.
No truth can make another truth untrue.
All knowledge is part of the whole knowledge.
Once you have seen the larger pattern,
you cannot go back to seeing the part as the whole.”
Ursula K. Le Guin ”A Man of the People” in “Four Ways To Forgiveness

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“Until you realize that your work is for others, not yourself, you will continue to spin your wheels.”
Ed Weissman (@edw519)

From this HN discussion thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5390426

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“The story heard is seldom the story told.”
Torbjörn Gyllebring (@drunkcod)

This often applies to customer discovery interviews where it’s easy to focus on potential uses for a new product instead of first ensuring you understand the real need and prospect’s constraints on accepting your offering as a potential solution.

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“Change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, keep intact your roots.”
Victor Hugo

h/t Jim Flowers (@startwithmoxie)

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“A real science of entrepreneurship requires not only models from physics but biology and psychology.”
Sean Murphy

Twitter length summary of “Market Discovery and Exploration Requires Models from Physics, Biology, and Psychology.” Here is the opening paragraph:

I am a big believer in a scientific approach to entrepreneurship, but you have to consider what kind of science is actually involved: physics, biology, zoology, or human psychology? Any successful product introduction requires a mix. If we can eliminate the human element then markets become much easier to predict and much more amenable to techniques used in chemistry and physics to great success the last few centuries. But a startup that treats markets made of people as a collection of molecules at equilibrium in a gas is unlikely to prosper.

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“A problem is a difference between things as perceived and things as desired.”
Don Gause and Gerald Weinberg in “Are Your Lights On? How to Figure Out What the Problem Really Is

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“To oppose something is to maintain it.”
Ursula K. LeGuin in “The Left Hand of Darkness

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“Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible.”
George Orwell

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“It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
Ursula K. LeGuin in “The Left Hand of Darkness

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“It’s not hard work but persistence: people who succeed last long enough to confront opportunities well prepared.”
David Smith (@_DavidSmith) in “Really Hard Work

This is my twitter version of a longer passage from a great blog post by David Smith:

I often hear that the key to success in life is a lot of hard work. That particular turn-of-phrase bothers me. There is very little hard in what I do. The hardest days work I’ve ever done in my life was digging a drainage ditch under a scorching Kentucky sun while on a mission trip in my teens. [...]  A better phrase would be to say that the key to success is persistent work. The difference isn’t just semantics. [...] In my experience the people who succeed are typically the ones that outlasted their peers for long enough to become confronted with opportunities well prepared.

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“Remorse sleeps during prosperity but awakes to bitter consciousness during adversity.”
Jean Jacques Rousseau

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“You cannot write well without data.”
George V. Higgins

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