Quotes For Entrepreneurs–August 2015

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Quotes

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Quotes For Entrepreneurs–-August 2015

“So you’re using yet-to-be-developed technology to deliver a conceptual product to a client base that you really hope is out there?”
ManagementSpeak (@ManagerSpeak)

The funny thing is that this is the exact challenge that a new technology startup faces.

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“To do good work a man should no doubt be industrious.
To do great work he must certainly be idle a well.”
Henry Ward Beecher

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“I think the hero in our generation is not the individual but the pair, two people who together add up to more than they are apart.”
Theodore Zeldin  in “Conversation: How Talk Can Change Our Lives

I used this in the “Power of Dyads” section in “A Serious Conversation Can Change Your Life.”

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“As we grow older we think more and more of old persons and of old things and places. As to old persons, it seems as if we never know how much they have to tell until we are old ourselves and they have been gone twenty or thirty years.

Once in a while we come upon some survivor of his or her generation that we have overlooked, and feel as if we had recovered one of the lost books of Livy or fished up the golden candlestick from the ooze of the Tiber.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. in “The Poet at the Breakfast Table

My birthday is this month and I found this quote apropos. For more from “The Poet at the Breakfast Table” see Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. on Intellect and Character

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“The root and the flower have to trust each other.
If the root does not trust, the plant won’t blossom.”
William Stafford in “Sound of the Ax: Aphorisms by William Stafford

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“We sometimes get all the information, but we refuse to get the message.”
Cullen Hightower

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“There is no such thing as a list of reasons, there is either one sufficient reason or a list of excuses.”
Robert Brault
in “Round Up the Usual Suspects

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“Entrepreneurs start businesses because they have no choice. Passion and energy drive them on good days and sustain them on bad ones.”
Barry Moltz in “You Need To Be a Little Crazy

We explore this in “Webinar Replay: You Need to Be a Little Crazy

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His hands trembled while lighting her cigarette, and hers were steady.
“I’m not drunk, ” he said, laughing, “but I’ve been drunk so often that my hands have remained unsteady for life, I guess.”
Anais Nin in  The Four-Chambered Heart

I see alcoholism (high function or otherwise) as a risk or byproduct of a startup culture that holds Meetups in bars and highlights “cocktail hour” meetings or provides free drinks as enticement to attend a networking event. It reminded me of a quote by George Orwell:

“A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks.
George Orwell in “Politics and the English Language”

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“An effective meeting either builds a shared understanding, generates options, or reaches a decision.”
Lisa Solomon

This is a twitter summary of her talk on “Designing Time: Meaning Not Management” I covered in “Lisa Solomon: Effective Meetings Choose One of Reaching Understanding, Generating Options, or Making Decisions” From the transcript:

There are really only three kinds of meetings:

  1. Building understanding: enabled each participant share relevant information to build a common understanding for clarity.
  2. Shaping choices: explore potential options, choices that are concrete discrete possibilities that we can analyze and test.
  3. Making decisions: only possible after we have a common understanding and clear choices framed.

Lisa Solomon in “Designing Time: Meaning Not Management

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“His bachelor condo on had gotten neater and neater over the years. It felt like a cabin on an ocean liner. Various emotions had been packed away somewhere in the hold with the old Cunard notice: NOT WANTED ONTHE VOYAGE.”
Alexander Jablokov in “Living Will” (collected in “The Breath of Suspension“)

I think many entrepreneurs–myself included–will compartmentalize their emotions and as a result reduce the depth and richness of their life.

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“You can lie at a banquet but you have to be honest in the kitchen.”
William Stafford in “Sound of the Ax: Aphorisms by William Stafford

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“Truth, like a bitter tonic, is distasteful, but without it we cannot purge ourself of toxic notions.”
Beston Jack Abrams in “Abramisms: Lines of the Ancient Aphorist (Volume 1)”

Quoted in “Beston Jack Abrams: Recognize and Act On The Truth

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“Children are unpredictable. You never know what inconsistency they are going to catch you in next.”
Henry Ward Beecher

Added as a closing quote to “Things I Have Learned from my Children.” This observation also applies to customers, prospects, and partners.

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“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”
Winston Churchill

Used as an opening quote for “EDA Business Climate: A Retrospective.”

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“Some people change because they see the light; others because they feel the heat.”
John Drybred

h/t Drew Byrne’s Aphorisms for Modern Living

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“You can’t change what you don’t notice and not noticing won’t make it go away.”
Tony Schwartz in “Ten Principles For Living in Fiercely Complex Times

I used this in “Tony Schwartz’s Principles For Fiercely Complex Times

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“There are three ingredients in the good life: learning, earning and yearning.”
Christopher Morley

Referenced in the opening paragraph to Pick Boring Or Grinding Over Losing Money.

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“Some are so addicted to making money it replaces fulfillment from family, friends, spirituality, and community.”
Richard Lieder in “Go To Hell Money”

This is the “condensed for twitter version” of

“Some people become so addicted to the money-making game–and the euphoria of winning–that they cannot stop playing. Generating wealth contributes a rhythm to their lives, a reason to get out of bed. Making money becomes a substitute for the personal fulfillment associated with family, friends, spirituality, and community. The difference between making a living and making a life is immense. Sadly, people who focus their lives on acquiring money often end up living a life of regrets.”
Richard Lieder in “Go To Hell Money”

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“Your problems are just old habit patterns, asking to be released.”
Karen Bell

h/t Conal Elliott Quote Collection

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“Grace can be the experience of a second wind, when even though what you want is clarity and resolution, what you get is stamina and poignancy and the strength to hang on.”
Anne Lamott in “Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers

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“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.”
Benjamin Franklin

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“If education is successful, the result is a curious person graced with humility.”
Beston Jack Abrams

Used in “Beston Jack Abrams on Aphorisms

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“Common sense and a sense of humour are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humour is just common sense, dancing. Those who lack humour are without judgment and should be trusted with nothing.”
Clive James in “Exploring the Medium” (4-Feb-1979)

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“One reason we struggle with insecurity: we compare our behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.”
Steve Furtick (@StevenFurtick)

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“If you can say it, it begins to exist.”
William Stafford in “Sound of the Ax: Aphorisms by William Stafford

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“Only Experience Teaches You: You can’t learn skiing by watching videos. They might help but you still need to find a place with snow, put your skis on, and thrust yourself down the mountain.”
Barry Moltz in “You Need To Be a Little Crazy

We explore this in “Webinar Replay: You Need to Be a Little Crazy

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“It is a sign of weakness to avoid showing signs of weakness.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb

h/t James Geary “More Aphorisms from Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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“Few people complete their experience of an event until they have talked about it.”
Martin Langford

Drew Byrne’s  Aphorisms for Modern Living

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“Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.”
Allen Saunders

This is the value of foresight and scenario planning: it forces you to consider many possible futures, not just the one you prefer to bring about. This is also the value of cultivating mindfulness and situational awareness, so that you spot emerging risks in the current situation.

I originally used this in 2006 “Quotes about Foresight and Understanding the Future” but mis-attributed it to John Lennon (h/t Quote Investigator for 2012 correction) I also used it without attribution in “Giving Thanks” in 2007.

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“Your time and attention are your most valuable assets. Do not let others hijack, borrow or steal it to sell it and you short.”
Josh Wolfe(@wolfejosh) blog at Forbes

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“A culture of experimentation is much different–behaviorally, organizationally and economically–than than a culture of analysis.”
Michael Schrage in “Plan Less, Experiment More

h/t Bud Caddell

Schrage’s key concept: “Cheap experiments are worth more than good ideas.”

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WhatIf by VicForPrez

Graphic by VicForPrez (@VicForPrez)

“What if” is the perpetual point of departure for the entrepreneur.

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“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
Anaïs Nin

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“As adversity recedes so does innovation”
Beston Jack Abrams

Used in “Beston Jack Abrams on Aphorisms.”

h/t James Geary “Still More Aphorisms by Beston Jack Abrams.”

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“If you are irritated by every rub, how can you be polished?”
Rumi

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“In science if you know what you are doing you should not be doing it.
In engineering if you do not know what you are doing you should not be doing it.
Of course, you seldom, if ever, see the pure state.”
Richard Hamming in “The Art of Doing Science and Engineering” [PDF]

This reminds me of the explore / exploit trade-off.  I think engineers run experiments and scientist often know what they are doing, or at least re-run experiments to confirm results and explore the limits of an effect. Hamming’s lecture “You and Your Research” is also worth reading.

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“A business model is a story about how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value.”
Saul Kaplan in “The Business Model Innovation Factory

h/t Ash Maurya’s “Scaling Lean” (advance copy, it’s his sequel to “Running Lean”). He defines his mission for the book: “This book explains how to define, measure, and communicate progress effectively with your internal and external stakeholders without drowning them in a sea of numbers.”

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“To most men experience is like the stern lights of a ship which illumine only the track it has passed.”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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“Most men, like plants, possess hidden qualities which chance discovers.”
La Rochefoucauld Reflection 344 in Reflections and Moral Maxims

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“The living have their eyes opened by closing the eyes of the dead.”
Austin O’Malley

Most entrepreneurs find it eye opening when they close the doors on their first business….and each one thereafter. After actions and post mortems are often eye opening as well.

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“Opportunity makes us known to others, but more to ourselves. ”
La Rochefoucauld Reflection 345 in Reflections and Moral Maxims

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