Quotes For Entrepreneurs–April 2014

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Quotes, skmurphy

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“Churn starts when you fail to deliver the value that was promised or expected.”
Sean Murphy

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“You can’t bluff someone who’s not paying attention.”
David Mamet

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“Internal emptiness inevitably surfaces.”
Richard Kostelanetz

h/t James  Geary

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“…the kind of thing the average person had no idea existed, until you happen upon them, and you realize there’s entire worlds of people doing all kinds of things you never even heard of in a very serious way.”

Gregory Sullivan in “Nails

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“Big data” has arrived, but big insights have not.
Tim Harford in “Big data: are we making a big mistake?

Related quote from same article:

“…there are vastly more possible comparisons than there are data points to compare. Without careful analysis, the ratio of genuine patterns to spurious patterns – of signal to noise – quickly tends to zero.”
Tim Harford in “Big data: are we making a big mistake?

h/t Matt Mullenweg

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“Talent is a pursued interest. Anything you are willing to practice, you can do.”
Bob Ross.

h/t Quotes on Design

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“We do not learn from experience.
We learn from reflecting on experience”
John Dewey.

h/t Conor Neill (@cuchullainn) who adds “Write. Stuff. Down.”
See also “Record to Remember, Pause to Reflect.

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“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
Michelangelo

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“We don’t get offered crises, they arrive.”
Elizabeth Janeway

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“It’s a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn’t want to hear.”
Dick Cavett

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“We explore promising avenues that, days later, become dead  ends. Sometimes, we solve a month’s problem in an hour.”
Cennydd Bowles (@Cennydd) in “Designers Lie. That’s OK

More context:

And then, of course, you ask us how we work. We respond with confidence, bold Helvetica outlining our design process: research, ideas, prototyping, testing, iteration. We hope you approve of our rigor, and perhaps even believe it ourselves.

But the project is always more fluid. We splash between the phases, unable to separate ideas from output, problem from solution. We explore promising avenues that, days later, become dead ends. Sometimes, we solve a month’s problem in an hour. It seems unfair to charge you the same regardless, but it avoids those difficult conversations.

Try as we may, we can’t justify every decision. The birth of an idea is ineffable. Although we hope it came from our research and analysis, we can never know for sure. Intuition and experience influence our every thought.

We try to predict the effect of our work, but the truth is that design is always a gamble. We can tip the odds in your favor, but never guarantee a jackpot. […] Don’t misunderstand—we aren’t bullshitting you. People who’ve taken our advice have profited from it. But design resists minute analysis—break it into its constituent parts and it crumbles into dust.

Cennydd Bowles (@Cennydd) in “Designers Lie. That’s OK

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“The struggle to reach the top is itself enough to fulfill the heart of man. One must believe that Sisyphus is happy.”
The Myth of SisyphusAlbert Camus

Originally quoted in “Six From Encyclopedia Neurotica

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“Character is not made in a crisis–it is only exhibited.”
Robert Freeman

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“I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection.”
Thomas Paine in “The American Crisis No. I

More context

The heart that feels not now is dead; the blood of his children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a time when a little might have saved the whole, and made them happy. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘ Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.
Thomas Paine in “The American Crisis No. I

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“A map is not the territory, nor is your organization chart your organization.”
Esther Derby (@estherderby)

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“We need to shift from predicting the future to understanding the now.”
Chris Diehl (@ChrisDiehl)  in Understanding the Now: The Role of Data in Adaptive Organizations

h/t Valdis Krebs (@OrgNet) More context:

“We need to shift from predicting the future to understanding the now. By focusing our attention on the present, we uncover and pursue existing opportunities as opposed to projected ones that may never come to pass. By accelerating our pace of response, we increase our potential to benefit from surprises that will surely come. At the same time, we mitigate the cost of our mistakes.”
Chris Diehl (@ChrisDiehl)  in Understanding the Now: The Role of Data in Adaptive Organizations

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“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.”
Margaret J. Wheatley

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“Experience has shown that our best customers are ones who have as much respect for our time as we have for theirs.”
Alex King in “I’m Trying to be Respectful but this Drive Me Crazy

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“Better Place is a tragicomic case study of the limits of innovation, the difficulties of getting consumers to embrace new technology, and the perils of believing your own bullshit. ”
Max Chafkin in “A Broken Better Place

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“A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”
Paul Simon

h/t  David Gurteen for spurring me to include this one in April. He has a thought provoking list of favorite quotations at http://www.gurteen.com/gurteen/gurteen.nsf/id/quotations This quote is actually taken from Paul Simon’s “The Boxer” here is the opening stanza:

“I am just a poor boy
Though my story’s seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles
Such are promises
All lies and jest
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest”
Paul Simon “The Boxer

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“Inspiration could be called inhaling the memory of an act never experienced.”
Ned Rorem

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“We systematically overestimate the value of access to information and underestimate the value of access to each other.”
Clay Shirky

h/t SwissMiss’s 2013 SXSW Keynote

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“By far the dominant reason for not releasing sooner was a reluctance to trade the dream of success for the reality of feedback.”
Kent Beck in “Approaching a Minimum Viable Product

More context:

When I look back at all my startup experiences (all of them eventually sunk on a Potentially Fatal Assumption), every single one of them could have been shipped much sooner. […] By far the dominant reason for not releasing sooner was a reluctance to trade the dream of success for the reality of feedback. […] The MVP is intended to counter this tendency. The process of working backward from the assumption to the least possible investment to validate the assumption saves resources in the case of difficulties and keeps the business on the path of learning.
Kent Beck in “Approaching a Minimum Viable Product

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“You always start with a fantasy. Part of the fantasy technique is to visualize something as perfect. Then with the experiments you work back from the fantasy to reality, hacking away at the components.”
Edwin Land in Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, Vol. 146, no. 1, (March 2002), p. 115

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“My father gave me some excellent advice for college: ‘You can get a job in business with an Engineering degree, but you cannot get a job in engineering with a Business degree.'”
Chris Peluso in his LinkedIn profile: www.linkedin.com/in/chrispeluso

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“No enemy is so terrible as a man of genius.”
Benjamin Disraeli

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“Caring is the ultimate competitive advantage.”
Ron Kendrick

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“They stood there laughing.
They’re not laughing anymore.
The walls came down.”
Michael Been “The Walls Came Down”

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“If you desire faith, then you have faith enough.”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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“The mutual confidence upon which all else depends can be maintained only by an open mind and a brave reliance on free discussion.”
Learned Hand

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“Entrepreneurs think effectually, believing in a yet-to-be-made future that can be substantially shaped by human action.”
Saras Sarasvathy

Condensed for twitter from a longer passage in “What Makes Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurial” (Annotated version on the Khosla Ventures site:  www.khoslaventures.com/presentations/What_makes_entrepreneurs_entrepreneurial.pdf )

“Entrepreneurs are entrepreneurial, as differentiated from managerial or strategic, because they think effectually; they believe in a yet-to-be-made future that can substantially be shaped by human action; and they realize that to the extent that this human action can control the future, they need not expend energies trying to predict it. In fact, to the extent that the future is shaped by human action, it is not much use trying to predict it–it is much more useful to understand and work with the people who are engaged in the decisions and actions that bring it into existence.”

The full passage was used in “Saras Sarasvathy’s Effectual Reasoning Model for Expert Entrepreneurs

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

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“Good rule of thumb: always know your customer’s customer and your supplier’s supplier. Gives obvious directions for growth and cost saving.”
Balaji S. Srinivasan @balajis

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“Knowing is half the battle.
Explaining it is the other half.”
Chris Burch

h/t William Porquet’s quotations collection

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“Better spend an extra hundred or two on your son’s education, than leave it him in your will.”
George Eliot in “Mill on the Floss” (1860)

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“I have been feeling very much lately that cheerful insecurity is what our Lord asks of us.”
C. S. Lewis

h/t Fred O’Bryant 

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“Talent is cheap. What really matters is discipline.”
Andre Dubus

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“Success, for some people, depends on becoming well-known; for others, it depends on never being found out.”
Ashleigh Brilliant 

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“Being an early adopter is exhilarating in the same way that riding a rollercoaster can feel like travel.”
Frank Chimero in “No New Tools

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“A man’s bewilderment is the measure of his wisdom.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne in “The House of Seven Gables

more context

“Only this is such an odd and incomprehensible world! The more I look at it, the more it puzzles me; and I begin to suspect that a man’s bewilderment is the measure of his wisdom. Men and women, and children, too, are such strange creatures, that one never can be certain that he really knows them; nor ever guess what they have been, from what he sees them to be, now. “

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