Quotes For Entrepreneurs–June 2013

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Quotes, skmurphy

You can follow @skmurphy to get these hot off the mojo wire or wait until these quotes for entrepreneurs are collected in a blog post at the end of each month. Enter your E-mail if you would like Feedburner to deliver new blog posts to your inbox.

I have highlighted a number of good quotes by Russell Ackoff this month. He was one of the most insightful contributors to systems thinking of the last 50 years.

+ + +

“Pay attention to what you’re paying attention to.”
Howard Rheingold

h/t Scott Rosenberg

+ + +

“Necessity may be the mother of invention,
but play is certainly the father.”
Roger von Oech

Originally used in “Understanding vs. Mastery

+ + +

“Science is not about control. It is about cultivating a perpetual condition of wonder.”
Richard Powers in “The Gold Bug Variations

Fuller excerpt:

“Science is not about control. It is about cultivating a perpetual sense of wonder in the face of something that forever grows one step richer and subtle than our latest theory about it. It is about reverence, not mastery.”

+ + +

“They had names for everything but understood so little.”
Ned B. Johnson

+ + +

“The performance of a system depends on how its parts interact, not on how they act taken separately”
Russell Ackoff in “Re-Creating the Corporation”

h/t Torbjörn Lundquist @torbjornlu

+ + +

“No problem stays solved in a dynamic environment.”
Russell Ackoff

h/t Farbood Nivi @farbood

longer excerpt from “Redesigning Society” (highlighting added).

Problem solving usually involves research, often using experimentation, quantitative analysis, and uncommon sense.

Unfortunately, few problems, once solved, stay that way; changes in the environment, changing societal goals, and new information cause solutions to deteriorate. For example, streetcars (trolleys) once solved urban transportation problems. They no longer do so; today they are considered to contribute to the congestion in an automobile-dominated environment. Furthermore, the first three ways of solving problems generally do not change the structure or functions of the entity that uses them.

Moreover, solutions generally do not exist in isolation from other problems. Solutions obtained to problems isolated from the other problems with which they interact generally produce one or more new problems. These are often more serious and difficult to solve than the original problem. For example, the use of insecticides to control crop-destroying insects created a number of health problems involving plants and animals (including humans) that are more serious than the problems they solved.

+ + +

“The future is better dealt with using assumptions than forecasts.”
Russell Ackoff “Management F-Laws” #11

h/t  Hermanni Hyytiälä  more context

“The future is better dealt with using assumptions than forecasts. Forecasts are about probabilities; assumptions are about possibilities. We carry a spare tire in our cars not because we forecast that we will have a puncture on our next trip but because we assume that a flat tire is possible. We plan for serious contingencies–floods, hurricanes, illness–however unlikely they may be. Carrying a spare tire cannot prevent our having a flat tire but it can reduce its undesirable effect; for example, being stranded on a remote highway at night in the rain.”

+ + +

“Time flies. It’s up to you to be the navigator.”
Robert Orben

+ + +

“The reason we so often struggle is we forget to study first principles. Or even believe in their existence.”
Torbjörn Gyllebring @drunkcod

+ + +

“People generally think that it is the world, the environment, external relationships, which stand in one’s way, in the way of ones’ good fortune… and at bottom it is always man himself that stands in his own way.”
Soren Kierkegaard

+ + +

“English does not contain a suitable word for ‘system of problems.’ Therefore, I have had to coin one. I choose to call such a system a mess”
Russell Ackoff in “Redesigning the Future”

+ + +

“Talent is a long patience.”
Gustave Flaubert

+ + +

“Decisions exist only in the present.”
Peter Drucker

+ + +

“I’m interested in the moment when two objects collide and generate a third. The third object is where the interesting work is.”
Bruce Mau

+ + +

“You cannot compete on common knowledge.”
Valdis Krebs (@orgnet) in Social Capital the Key to Success in the Connected Age

More context:

“In the knowledge economy, knowledge and content are no longer sufficient – everyone has access to many sources of content and knowledge. You cannot compete on common knowledge — what everyone knows.
[…]
The new advantage is context – how internal and external content is interpreted, combined, made sense of, and converted to new products and services. Creating competitive context requires social capital – the ability to find, utilize and combine the skills, knowledge and experience of others, inside and outside of your organization. Social capital is derived from employees’ personal and professional networks.
[…]
Innovation happens at the intersections — innovative organizations have many more intersections of diverse thinking and approaches than we see above.  Competing effectively in the connected economy is based on combining (and re-combining) unique knowledge from different parts of the business ecosystem (both within and outside of the organization). ”

Valdis Krebs in Social Capital the Key to Success in the Connected Age

See also his article “Social Capital: The Key to Success for the 21st Century Organization” [PDF]

+ + +

‘The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious.”
Marcus Aurelius

+ + +

“If you can’t write your message in a sentence, you can’t say it in an hour.”
Dianna Booher

h/t Jon Zimmer in “Quotes for Public Speakers #136

+ + +

“When we see a mirage what is it that we see?”
Les Coleman in “Thunks

h/t James Geary “Les Is No More

+ + +

“Work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen.”
Conan O’Brien

+ + +

“Shrinking product lifetimes will force large firms to reconsider a strategy of outsourcing all customer development to acquired startups.”
Sean Murphy

+ + +

“You shall know the truth, and it will make you odd.
Flannery O’Connor

+ + +

“When you wish to instruct, be brief; that men’s minds take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it faithfully. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind.”
Cicero

h/t John Zimmer “Quotes for Public Speakers #140

+ + +

“In the spring of 2009 I started on ‘Startup: An Owner’s Manual’ a how-to instructional guide for building new companies.”
Nathan Beckord “Foundersuite Origin Story Part Deux

+ + +

“Boring routines mean you can save your energy to solve big problems every day.”
Chris Oliver (@excid3)

h/t Charlie Park

+ + +

“The 1920s are the decade that signaled the arrival of a gift that still means a lot to us: Saturday.”
Amity Shlaes in “The Myth of Gatsby’s Suffering Middle Class

+ + +

Trackback from your site.

Leave a comment

Quick Links

Bootstrappers Breakfast Link Startup Stages Clients In the News Upcoming Events Office Hours Button