Quotes For Entrepreneurs–July 2014

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Quotes, skmurphy

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“It is not the employer who pays wages. He only handles the money. It is the product that pays the wages and it is the management that arranges production so that the product may pay the wages.”
Henry Ford in “My Life and Work” [Kindle]

h/t Mark Graban

More context from Chapter 5 “Getting Into Production” from “My Life and Work” by Henry Ford

“If every job in our place required skill the place would never have existed. Sufficiently skilled men to the number needed could not have been trained in a hundred years. A million men working by hand could not even approximate our present daily output. No one could manage a million men. But more important than that, the product of the unaided hands of those million men could not be sold at a price in consonance with buying power. And even if it were possible to imagine such an aggregation and imagine its management and correlation, just think of the area that it would have to occupy! How many of the men would be engaged, not in producing, but in merely carrying from place to place what the other men had produced? I cannot see how under such conditions the men could possibly be paid more than ten or twenty cents a day—for of course it is not the employer who pays wages. He only handles the money. It is the product that pays the wages and it is the management that arranges the production so that the product may pay the wages.

The more economical methods of production did not begin all at once. They began gradually—just as we began gradually to make our own parts. “Model T” was the first motor that we made ourselves. The great economies began in assembling and then extended to other sections so that, while to-day we have skilled mechanics in plenty, they do not produce automobiles—they make it easy for others to produce them. Our skilled men are the tool makers, the experimental workmen, the machinists, and the pattern makers. They are as good as any men in the world—so good, indeed, that they should not be wasted in doing that which the machines they contrive can do better. The rank and file of men come to us unskilled; they learn their jobs within a few hours or a few days.

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“You have to roll up your sleeves and be a stonecutter before you can become a sculptor–command of craft always precedes art: apprentice, journeyman, master.”
Philip Gerard

h/t Quotes on Design

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“There will always be a shortage of talented, self-motivated creative professionals who will unquestioningly follow orders.”
James Halliday (@substack)

h/t  Jeff Kingyens

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“A myth about innovation is that it is about big ideas. Of course, in the end you want an idea with the power to transform your core business. No idea ever started out as a billion-dollar one, yet large companies often start out asking for $100 million ideas. But imagine if somebody asked, in month six of e-Bay, “Do you have a $100 million idea here?” Nobody could have told you that. So instead we have to create a lot of low cost experimentation. We need lots of $25,000 and $100,000 experiments.”
Gary Hamel, in an interview with David Kirkpatrick in Fortune Sep-6-2004

Used in “A Viable Business Model Embraces Ebb and Flow as a coda to the section “You Need A Bushel of Acorns, Not a Diamond.”

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“Civilization is a movement and not a condition, a voyage not a harbor.”
Arnold Toynbee

Used as closing quote for “Happy 4th of July

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“Progress begins with the belief that what is necessary is possible.”
Norman Cousins

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“The single rule for building your company culture: your actions are all that matter.”
Heidi Roizen (@HeidiRoizen) in “The Single Rule for Building Your Company Culture

Heidi Roizen  has always had a talent for self-promotion, but she offers practical advice on her blog about looking at a negotiation from the other party’s perspective–in this case Steve Jobs–and the value of planning. See also this profile by First Round “8 Rare Gems from Heidi Roizen on Building a Fulfilling Life and Career.”

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“Values always decay over time. Societies that keep values alive do so not by escaping the process of decay but by powerful processes of regeneration.”
John W. Gardner in On Leadership

I believe that this also applies to startup teams.

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“You will turn over many a futile new leaf until you learn we must all write on the scratched-out pages.”
Mignon McLaughlin in “The Complete Neurotic’s Notebook”

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“Power is not revealed by striking hard or often, but by striking true. ”
Honore de Balzac in The Physiology of Marriage, Meditation V: Of the Predestined

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“Many of us are impersonations of what we know we ought to be.”
Henry S. Haskins

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“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
Hunter S. Thompson in “Fear and Loathing at the Super Bowl” (Rolling Stone #155, (28 February 1974))

Used as a closing quote for “A Picture is Worth a Thousand CPU Hours.

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“There are two kinds of writer: those that make you think, and those  that make you wonder.”
Brian Aldiss

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“Nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose–a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.”
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Adapted from Robert Walton’s “Letter 1″ in Frankenstein

“I feel my heart glow with an enthusiasm which elevates me to heaven, for nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose — a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.”

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“I make all my decisions on intuition. I throw a spear into the darkness. That is intuition.
Then I must send an army into the darkness to find the spear. That is intellect.”
Ingmar Bergman from “Ingmar Bergman Confides in Students” New York Times, May 7, 1981

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“If you want people to think of you for opportunities, help them connect the dots about you.”
Heidi Roizen (@HeidiRoizen) in “Everything is Relationship Driven

She elaborates with an example that is very applicable to both finding co-founders and asking customers for referrals.

Do not believe, just because you’ve been around a long time and everyone knows who you are, that you don’t still have to do the homework to let your network know about you.

Several years ago, when I was at a point that I wanted to be considered for board of director positions, I sat down and, over the course of eight hours, wrote 150-something individual e-mails to everyone I knew well enough who was on a board, in service of a board, or a C-level executive: “Here I am; here are my board qualifications; here’s a link to my website that explains more about my board service. If you think I would be an appropriate candidate for a board that you work with, please let me know.” That night at a party I ran into someone on the TiVo board, and he said, “I’m so glad you reached out, because I’ve got an opportunity for you.” Even though he already knew me, my request and refresher helped him think of me for this board, which I ended up joining.

Heidi Roizen in “Everything is Relationship Driven

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“The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible–and achieve it, generation after generation.”
Pearl S. Buck

Used as closing quote in “Three Advantages of Younger Entrepreneurs in B2B Startups

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“The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day.”
Henry Ward Beecher

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“I believe the major risk of early stage startups is getting customers to buy, and showing that you can sell.”
Conor Neill in “If You Can’t Explain what You do in a Paragraph, You’ve Got a Problem

Used as closing quote for “Successful Bootstrappers Are Trustworthy Salespeople Committed to Customer Satisfaction” Brad Feld originally wrote a blog post entitled “If You Can’t Explain what You do in a Paragraph, You’ve Got a Problem” which is a great rule of thumb all by itself.

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“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.”
Henri Bergson

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“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way–things I had no words for.”
Georgia O’Keeffe

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“Learning requires unlearning.”
L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

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“It was a small boldness, but they count, too. In the cellars of the night, when the mind starts moving around old trunks of bad times, the pain of this and the shame of that, the memory of a small boldness is a hand to hold. We weren’t always cowards. There have been moments for which we needn’t apologize.”
John Leonard in “Private Lives” column Feb-2-77 New York Times

h/t Gwen Branwen (shorter version in Fred O’Bryant’s Quote Collection Volume 6)

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“In my experience, most people don’t schedule their work.
They schedule the interruptions that prevent their work from happening.”
Mike Monteiro in “The Chokehold of Calendars

h/t Neil Perkin  in”Weekly Fish Food, July 18, 2014” See also his “Cycle of Time Suck

Used as closing quote for “Sunday Night Your Chips are Down For the Week

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The future announces itself from afar, a tentative sound of things to come drowned in the clatter of the present.”
John Gardner in “On Leadership”

This is the “twitter version” of

“…the future announces itself from afar. But most people are not listening. The noisy clatter of the present drowns out the tentative sound of things to come. The sound of the new does not fit old perceptual patterns and goes unnoticed by most people. And of the few who do perceive something coming, most lack the energy, initiative, courage or will to do anything about it. Leaders who have the wit to perceive and the courage to act will be credited with a gift of prophecy that they do not necessarily have.”
from “On Leadership”  by John W. Gardner.

The long version is quoted in “John Gardner: Leaders Detect and Act on Weak Signals of the Future

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“There’s dangerous temptation in the nostalgic dream, in the expertise of yesteryear. We cannot
live in places that no longer exist.”
Frank HerbertListening to the Left Hand” [subscription required] Harpers Dec 1973

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“Sedate ignorance is the last stage of deterioration.”
Henry S. Haskins

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“Information is cheap, meaning is expensive.”
George Dyson in an interview with Martin Eiermann

h/t @OurCreativeRise.  More context from European Magazine’s “Information is Cheap, Meaning is Expensive” (links added)

Martin Eiermann (@beingandthyme): The challenge is not to gather information, but to make sense of the information we have?
Dyson: Right. We now live in a world where information is potentially unlimited. Information is cheap, but meaning is expensive. Where is the meaning? Only human beings can tell you where it is. We’re extracting meaning from our minds and our own lives.

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“Success is 80% Diagnosis and 20% Prescription.”
Conor Neill title of a blog post

More context from Success is 80% Diagnosis and 20% Prescription

Don’t rush to the solution. You need to go through a good diagnosis process before the listener is ready to hear the solution. If you rush to solution, the listener is not ready to trust you. Do you take time in your meetings to really ensure that everyone shares the view of what the problem is? I have been to many meetings where the conflict is really due to the fact that each person is trying to solve a different problem.

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Nature didn’t tell me “Don’t be poor”; and certainly didn’t say: “Get rich”; but she did shout: “Always be independent!”
Nicolas Chamfort

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“Life in the movie business is like the beginning of a new love affair:
it’s full of surprises and you’re constantly getting fucked.”
David Mamet

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“One of the great disadvantages of hurry is that it takes such a long time.”
G. K. Chesterton

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“It ain’t all coding, selling, and raising money, people.”
Charlie O’Donnell in “Founders Run Amok

More context:

“I hate to break it to anyone, but the creation of a board, the building of a strong legal base, and, to take it a step further, tedious little things like values statements and human resource policies, are all the work of building a real company. Terms that hold founders accountable make them better founders and company builders. It ain’t all coding, selling, and raising money, people.”
Charlie O’Donnell in “Founders Run Amok

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“If someone is making an effort to ignore you, he is not ignoring you.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (@nntaleb)

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“A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.”
Francis Bacon

Used as a closing quote for “Tristan Kromer: You Can Tell a Good Advisor by Their Questions.”

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“Coming together is a beginning;
keeping together is progress;
working together is success.”
Henry Ford

h/t 2004 Annual Report for “The Henry Ford

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“Throughout most of my education, I was taught that collaboration was cheating.”
Kristen DeMaria in “Schools Don’t Teach Collaboration

h/t Harold Jarche (@hjarche)

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Hugh MacLeod: How To Scale Successfully

“Scaling your business is all about having more people solve more problems for you.”
Hugh MacLeod

More context from “Six Ways to get People to Solve Problems

Scaling your business is all about having more people solve more problems for you.

Small enterprises can get lost in an awkward teenager phase where they expand a little too fast for comfort. Growing pains aren’t pleasant, but are reduced when employees are given the autonomy to fix problems themselves.

Your main job as a leader is to make sure everyone has what they needs. That they work together well. That collaboration is rewarded naturally in your day to day ops. That feedback loops keep everything running smoothly. And that the folks only out for themselves don’t muck up the works and hold everyone back.

The more everyone works together, the easier it is to keep on growing (up).
Hugh MacLeod

h/t Harold Jarche in “Wirearchy To Scale Successfully” where he also offers a mashup between MacLeod’s graphic and Jon Husband’s definition of wirearchy: “a dynamic two-way flow of power and authority, based on knowledge, trust, credibility, and a focus on results, enabled by interconnected people and technology.”

I also used the short version of MacLeod’s observation as an inline quote in  “Matt Wensing On Making the Transition to Growth.

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“Every time I’ve seen someone create a business, with the ultimate intention of getting away from that business and its customers as quickly as possible, instead of moving towards that business and its customers, it fails.”
Bryan Franklin

Quoted by Michael Ellsberg in “Top 4 Reasons Why Passive Income is a Passive Fantasy

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“Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.”
Winston Churchill

Another good practice is transform regret into preparation by substituting “if only…” for “next time…” There was a Unix Fortune I saw once that said “s/if only/next time/g” that captures this neatly. “Two Words” by Arthur Gordon makes the same point but I cannot find the original publication source.

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“Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong.”
Winston Churchill

I think every entrepreneur needs a “fortress of solitude” where they can withdraw, reflect, and then return to the tumult of the marketplace.

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“I’m just preparing my impromptu remarks.”
Winston Churchill

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