Quotes For Entrepreneurs–August 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 address if you would like have new blog posts sent to you.

+ + +

“Hold a book in your hand and you’re a pilgrim at the gates of a new city.”
Anne Michaels

+ + +

“Zuckism says that if you can tap a deep enough need at a big enough scale you can strip-mine a billion intimate lives for profit.”
Kevin Kelleher in “The Trouble with Zuckism

I think Facebook and GMail are well no their way to becoming highly regulated, or perhaps third party services that monitor private communications to inject ads will simply be outlawed. I think the pendulum will start to swing back in the next five or ten years, especially as firms continue to erode privacy boundaries purely to increase their profits. In the same article Kelleher observes: “Facebook is, in its DNA, a cold-blooded parasite, subsisting on ad dollars extracted from necessary human relationships.”

+ + +

“The greatest pleasure is obtained by improving.”
Ben Hogan

h/t Torbjörn Gyllebring (@drunkcod)

+ + +

“Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are.”
George Santayana

+ + +

“Children see magic because they look for it.”
Christopher Moore in “Lamb”

I think this is why entrepreneurs see opportunities that others miss: they are alert to the possibility of better tools, better methods, and the repurposing of existing tools to new uses.

+ + +

“To broaden your horizons take a step forward.”
Frans Hiddema

+ + +

“A standpoint reached as the result of an ascent has a different meaning from that same standpoint reached as a result of a fall.”
Eduard Douwes Dekker

+ + +

“Creativity always comes as a surprise to us; therefore, we can never count on it as we dare not believe in it until it has happened. In other words, we could not consciously engage upon tasks whose success clearly requires that creativity be forthcoming. Hence, the only way in which we can bring our creative resources fully into play is by misjudging the nature of the task, by presenting it to ourselves as more routine, simple, undemanding of genuine creativity than it will turn out to be.”
Albert Hirschman in “Development Projects Observed

Used as the opening quote for If You Knew How Hard a Startup Would Be

+ + +

“It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.”
Winston Churchill

Used as the closing quote for If You Knew How Hard a Startup Would Be

+ + +

“Don’t start with the details. Start with the key ideas, and in a hierarchical fashion, form the details around these larger notions.”
John Medina in “Brain Rules

Used as organizing paradigm for “Lego Box Presentation Method

+ + +

“If we had cake, we could have cake and ice cream, if we had the ice cream.”

First principle of ineffectual entrepreneurship, the opposite of effectual entrepreneurship which works from assets and relationships you have instead of what you don’t have. A favorite expression of my Uncle John.

+ + +

Why don’t we listen well? The person we’re listening to isn’t important. Change that perspective, and you fix the problem.
Susan de la Vergne in “We’re Terrible Listeners — And Here’s Why

Suggested as a postscript to “Use E-Mail Like a Walkie-Talkie Not a Bullhorn” by Brad Pierce (@learningloving). Here is a longer excerpt for context but the entire article is worth reading.

In technology, when we find a problem with a product, we pursue its root cause. What’s really making this happen? Then we fix the root cause. We know we could just tinker with things so the symptoms stop appearing, but without getting at what’s really wrong, it’s only a matter of time before the problem shows up again.

Same thing applies here. When we’re trying to listen, we could count to seven before speaking or remind ourselves not to interrupt, but those are just symptoms. Becoming a better listener requires taking a deeper dive into the problem. We need to get at the root cause.

Why don’t we listen well? The person we’re listening to isn’t important. Change that perspective, and you fix the problem.

+ + +

“The true characteristic of genius–without despising rules, it knows when and how to break them.”
William Ellery Channing

+ + +

“Bold action coupled with frank expression has inadvertently launched many a deeply felt entrepreneurial career.”
Sean Murphy

A wry observation I made in “Life Is Too Short.” Probably inspired as much by personal experience as anything else.

+ + +

“Ideas often flash across our minds more complete than we could make them after much labour.”
La Rochefoucauld

h/t @LaRochefoucau1d

+ + +

“There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy. We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment.”
Jeff Bezos in his announcement on buying the Washington Post

More context:

“There will, of course, be change at The Post over the coming years. That’s essential and would have happened with or without new ownership. The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs. There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy. We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment. Our touchstone will be readers, understanding what they care about – government, local leaders, restaurant openings, scout troops, businesses, charities, governors, sports – and working backwards from there. I’m excited and optimistic about the opportunity for invention.”

+ + +

“I have lived a long life and had many troubles, most of which never happened.”
Mark Twain

Update Sat-Nov-21-2015: Garson O’Toole (“The Quote Investigator”) looked into this in October 2o15 and found that there was no evidence Twain ever said this and it was attributed to him but derived from these four lines written “In the 1830s the influential English writer and poet Martin Farquhar Tupper released “Proverbial Philosophy”, a popular work published in many editions during the ensuing decades. Here are the first four lines of the work titled “Of Anticipation”: [bold added]

“Thou hast seen many sorrows, travel-stained pilgrim of the world,
But that which hath vexed thee most, hath been the looking for evil;
And though calamities have crossed thee, and misery been heaped on thy head,
Yet ills that never happened, have chiefly made thee wretched.”
Martin Farquhar Tupper  in “Of Anticipation” collected in “Proverbial Philosophy

+ + +

“The value of culture is its effect on character. It avails nothing unless it ennoble and strengthens that. Its use is for life. Its aim is not beauty, but goodness.”
Somerset Maugham

+ + +

“When two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as he wants to be seen, and each man as he really is.”
Michael de Saintamo

+ + +

“Success always obsoletes the very behavior that achieved it.”
Peter Drucker in Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, and Practices

+ + +

“The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle.”
Pierre de Coubertin

+ + +

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
Bruce Lee

+ + +

“Solvency First, Consistency Second, Growth Third”
Rob Saric in “Startups Are Hard

More context:

2. Solvency First, Consistency Second, Growth Third
If you don’t have enough money to survive you die. […] focus on ‘Minimum Viable Cash flow (MVC)’. Once you determine what the MVC is for both you and your team, work towards achieving that by whatever means you can. Consistency allows for predictability and the more predictable your business (‘X inputs results in Y outputs’) the faster you’ll grow.

+ + +

“To teach is to learn twice.”
Joseph Joubert

+ + +

“The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when someone asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.”
Henry David Thoreau

+ + +

“Genius unexerted is no more genius than a bushel of acorns is a forest of oaks.”
Henry Ward Beecher

+ + +

“Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact.”
George Eliot in “Impressions of Theophrastus Such” (1879)

+ + +

“I’m always looking to vector in on a problem from multiple directions and perspectives, and that includes process. This means chewing on lots of different ideas, mashing them up, and keeping what works.”
Giff Constable (@giffco) in “The Point of Stupid Buzzwords

+ + +

“Solve real problems that people will pay for where you add unique value.”
Sean Murphy

I used as title for “Solve Real Problems That People Will Pay For Where You Add Unique Value.” h/t Brad Pierce for a tweet on @learningloving that reminded me of this.

+ + +

“The two most fundamental strategic choices are deciding where to play and how to win.”
Roger L. Martin in “Why Most CEOs are Bad at Strategy

More context

The two most fundamental strategic choices are deciding where to play and how to win. These two decisions–in what areas will the company compete, and on what basis will it do so–are the critical one-two punch to generate strategic advantage. However, they can’t be considered independently or sequentially. In a great strategy, your where-to-play and how-to-win choices fit together and reinforce one another.

In “Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works” Martin, writing with A. G. Lafley, offers two slightly different definitions of strategy:

“A strategy is a coordinated and integrated set of five choices: a winning aspiration, where to play, how to win, core capabilities, and management systems.”

and

“A strategy is a coordinated and integrated set of where-to-play, how-to-win, core capability, and management system choices that uniquely meet a consumer’s needs, creating competitive advantage and superior value for a business.”

h/t Matt Wensing “Why Most CEOs are Bad at Strategy”

+ + +

“There is no such thing as a long piece of work, except one that you dare not start.” Charles Baudelaire

+ + +

“Confusion is a word we have invented for an order that is not yet understood.”
Henry Miller

+ + +

“Innovation opportunities do not come with the tempest but with the rustling of the breeze.”
Peter Drucker

+ + +

“The direction worth going in isn’t up, down, forward, or backward. It’s towards. And beyond.”
Umair Haque (@umairh)

Part of a five tweet series on finding your direction:

  1. The direction worth going in isn’t up, down, forward, or backward. It’s towards. And beyond.
  2. To find your direction, look inside. Not outside.
  3. Tear up the map and throw it away. You can’t use a map if you’re already lost .

  4. Get lost if you want to be found.
  5. You can calculate the best direction with your mind. But you can only find the right direction with your heart.

+ + +

“True religion is the life we lead, not the creed we profess.”
Louis Nizer

According to Quoteyard this appears in “Reflections without mirrors an autobiography of the mind” (1978) by Louis Nizer on page 94, but there is an earlier citation to “The Ministers manual: a study and pulpit guide: Volume 38 (1962)” by Gerard Benjamin Fleet Hallock on  page 61.

Trackback from your site.

Leave a comment

Quick Links

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