Quotes for Entrepreneurs January 2016

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Quotes, skmurphy

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Quotes For Entrepreneurs January 2016

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“We’re already being studied by the future.”
George Murray (@bookninja) in “Glimpse: Selected Aphorisms of George Murray

My first quote for 2016, it implies quite a bit:

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“Today’s for sale and it’s all you can afford.”
Michael StanleyLet’s Get The Show On The Road

A bittersweet take on Be Here Now and Carpe Diem.

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“The faculty of creating is never given to us all by itself. It always goes hand in hand with the gift of observation.”
Igor Stravinsky

h/t Lani Picard It’s a new year, keep your eyes open for opportunities–and threats.

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“Without the resolve to act, reflection and research are only entertainments.”
Beston Jack Abrams

I used this in Beston Jack Abrams on Curiosity, Experimentation and Action

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“You learn the system. But it does not learn you. We are likely to look back on this form of interaction as quite limited.”
Hugh Dubberly in “What Is Interaction? Are There Different Types?

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“Doing things in a new way is easy; we call this novelty. What’s challenging is to do things in a new way that eventually gets accepted by others; we call this creativity. What’s even more challenging is to do something in a new way that is ethical and advances the human condition; we call this ‘good work.’”
Howard Gardner in “Good Project–About Us

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“My obsession with HyperText + CollaborationWare is basically about making thoughts/decisions legible so they can be refined in daylight.”
Bill Seitz @BillSeitz

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A Fresh Cup Of Tea“Time is a tea through which your life’s water is run only once.”
George Murray in “Glimpse: Selected Aphorisms of George Murray

I used this as a closing quote for “Making Tea.” It reminds me of

“Time is the school in which we learn,
Time is the fire in which we burn.”
Delmore Schwartz in “Calmly We Walk Through This April’s Day” (closing lines)

Photo Credit: A Fresh Cup of Tea by Dark Aura (Lesley Wheat 2012)

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“First learn to be a craftsman; it won’t keep you from being a genius.”
Eugène Delacroix (French artist 1798 – 1863)

h/t @Mizze43

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“Everything that happens to you is your teacher. The secret is to learn to sit at the feet of your own life and be taught by it.
Polly Berrien Berends in “Coming to Life

h/t Lani Picard

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Remember, transparency is just public relations under a less transparent name.”
Neal Stephenson (@NealStephenson)

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“One thing to remember when you’re climbing to the top
You’d better know the way back down…
I can’t believe you’d really stumble, but then, I always knew you’d fall
It seems so easy, to say ‘I knew you’ when I’d rather it was not at all”
Michael StanleyLet’s Get The Show On The Road

Life or Fate or the long run takes care of most bad behavior. In the last ten years I have focused more on gratitude, repaying every kindness, and paying it forward. But it did take me a while to realize that “forgive and forget” works better than “don’t get mad, get even.”

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“If you can see the root issue of a problem, you can solve it.”
John C. Maxwell

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“The key to eternal happiness is low overhead and no debt.”
Lynda Barry in a 2008 interview with Amy Kellner

h/t Austin Kleon’s “How Will I Pay The Bills?

Good advice for bootstrappers. Reminds me of these lines from “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys”

The percentage you’re paying is too high priced
While you’re living beyond all your means
And the man in the suit has just bought a new car
From the profit he’s made on your dreams
Jim Capaldi The Low Spark of High Heel Boys

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“We dance for our computers. Every error, every problem that has to be diagnosed schedules us to do work on the system’s behalf.”
Mark Burgess (@MarkBurgess_OSL) in “Computer Immunology (1998)”

More context from the abstract and first section of paper

“Abstract: Present day computer systems are fragile and unreliable. Human beings are involved in the care and repair of computer systems at every stage in their operation. This level of human involvement will be impossible to maintain in future. Biological and social systems of comparable and greater complexity have self-healing processes which are crucial to their survival. It will be necessary to mimic such systems if our future computer systems are to prosper in a complex and hostile environment.  […]

Autonomous systems: We dance for our computers. Every error, every problem that has to be diagnosed schedules us to do work on the system’s behalf. Whether the root cause of the errors is faulty programming or simply a lack of foresight, human intervention is required in computing systems with a regularity which borders on the embarrassing.”
Mark Burgess (@MarkBurgess_OSL) in “Computer Immunology (1998)”

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“As long as you have certain desires about how it ought to be you can’t see how it is.”
Ram Dass in “Be Here Now

True when we look at our own behavior, our startups, as well as competitors and partners.

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“Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo.”
John Sinclair

h/t Gerald Weinberg (@JerryWeinberg) When I retweeted this quote

Andrew Shindyapin (ph0rque) replied: “I love both meanings: failure, unlike a tattoo, is impermanent; also not a fashion statement (contrary to Silicon Valley).”

I had missed the fashion statement aspect but I agree that failure as a “badge of honor’ is part of Silicon Valley startup mythology.

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“You know you are in your element when you don’t know who will next walk through the door but you’re confident that whoever it is will be just fine.”
George Murray (@bookninja) in “Glimpse: Selected Aphorisms of George Murray

After 9 years of Bootstrapper Breakfasts I feel this way before the start of a new one. As the Shoveller would say, “We’ve got a blind date with destiny.”

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“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.”
Auguste Rodin

h/t Lani Picard

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“If you insist on getting credit for the work you do, you’ll never get far in life.”
John Boyd

Quoted in an interview with Chet Richards

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“The intuitive leap to a solution is often key to an entrepreneur “leveling up” a business, but you need to backtrack methodically to make sure you have grasped all of the essential elements of the problem and any constraints on a solution.”
Sean Murphy in “How To Test Your Leap To a Solution

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Content marketing is just solving the same customer problems as your product but through media you create and distribute. -- Jay Acunzo“Content marketing is just solving the same customer problems as your product but through media you create and distribute.”
Jay Acunzo in “What is Content Marketing

h/t Barbara Nelson in “Content Marketing–Heart to Heart

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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
H. Jackson Brown in “P.S. I Love You” (he attributes it to his mother.)

h/t Quote Investigator (note that it’s not Mark Twain).  Brown has published a number of books of advice, his “Complete Life’s Little Instruction Book” gathers over 1500 “instructions’ from his three “little instruction books” into a single volume.

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“Solving a problem simply means representing it so as to make the solution transparent.”
Herbert A. Simon in “The Sciences of the Artificial

h/t Conal Elliot Quotes Collection This is why diagrams are often more powerful representations, they can make relationships clear without requiring the decoding that a long narrative does. It’s often very useful to ask a prospect to sketch a diagram of the problem or their need as well as describing it verbally.

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“Removing someone with negative productivity from a team without replacement is the same as adding a new team member.”
Gordon Bell  in High Tech Ventures

I used this more than nine years ago in an early blog post “Plus Minus People” that remains relevant today.

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I keep my eyes clear and I hit ’em where they ain’t.
Willie Keeler

I used this in “Rock Paper Scissors.”

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“The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that’s the way to bet.”
Damon Runyon

I used this in “Rock Paper Scissors.”

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“The knowledge that a secret exists is half of the secret.”
Joshua Meyrowitz in “No Sense of Place

I used this in “Lighting the Way for your Competitors

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“It takes great skill to know how to conceal one’s skill.”
La Rochefoucauld

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“Love of truth shows itself in this, that a man knows how to find and value the good in everything.”
Goethe in Maxims and Reflections

This is the core principle behind both the Appreciative Inquiry and Amplify Positive Deviance models:

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“Oh, he leads by example. Whether he wants to or not.”
ManagementSpeak (@ManagerSpeak)

Something that new parents and newly promoted managers often learn the hard way.

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“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”
Ram Dass in “Be Here Now

Always worth remembering in customer discovery interviews.

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“The hotel is where potential and sadness conduct their affair to produce renewal.”
George Murray (@bookninja) in “Glimpse: Selected Aphorisms of George Murray

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“Don’t attack a walled city.”
Gordon Bell’s guideline from “High Tech Ventures

I used this in “Rock Paper Scissors.”

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“How to be a 10x engineer: help ten other engineers be twice as good.”
Peter Seibel(@PeterSeibel)

h/t Jeremy Pruitt (@JeremyPruitt)

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“No great discovery was ever made without a bold guess.”
Isaac Newton

h/t Lani Picard

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“When you can’t create you can work.”
Henry Miller in “Henry Miller on Writing

h/t Lists of Note: “Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments.”  It’s number 5. Number 10 is also good and works as well if you substitute “book” for “blog post.”

“Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.”
Henry Miller in “Henry Miller on Writing

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“No technique works if it isn’t used.”
Larry Niven in “Niven’s Laws

h/t Lists of Note:”How The Universe Works

“18. No technique works if it isn’t used. If that sounds simplistic, look at some specifics: Telling friends about your diet won’t make you thin. Buying a diet cookbook won’t either. Even reading the recipes won’t do it. Knowing about Alcoholics Anonymous, looking up the phone number, even jotting it on real paper, won’t make you sober. Buying weights doesn’t give you muscles. Signing a piece of paper won’t make missiles disappear, even if you make lots of copies and tell every anchorperson on earth. Endlessly studying designs for spacecraft won’t put anything into orbit. And so forth. But you surely know someone who tried it that way, and maybe you’re one yourself.”
Larry Niven in “Niven’s Laws

This reminds me of this line from Goethe’s Maxims and Reflections

“It is not enough to know, we must also apply; it is not enough to will, we must also do.”
Goethe in Maxims and Reflections

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“One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.”
Henry Miller in “Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch

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“A man can trust his luck, but a society can’t; and cultural change, like random mutation, may make things chancier. So they have gone very slowly. At any one point in their history a hasty observer would say that all technological progress and diffusion had ceased. Yet it never has. Compare the torrent and the glacier. Both get where they are going.”
Ursula K. LeGuin  “The Left Hand of Darkness”

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“You can use an eraser on the drafting table or a sledge hammer on the construction site.”
Frank Lloyd Wright

Another perspective on the value of starting with models and low fidelity prototypes to quickly explore the design space.

Update Feb 1: Quote Investigator covered this on Jan 30 concluding the quote should read:

“The architect’s two most important tools are: the eraser in the drafting room and the wrecking bar on the site.”
Frank Lloyd Wright

But the Wright’s meaning is different than what I inferred, his was that both are equally valuable as can be seen in this except from “Apprentice to Genius: Years with Frank Lloyd Wright” by Edgar Tafel

He never tired of repeating, “The architect’s most effective tools are the eraser in the drafting room and the wrecking bar on the job.” When Mr. Wright visited one of his construction sites and saw a wall that was the least bit crooked, he’d grab a wrecking bar and knock the wall down. He abhorred shoddy workmanship.

Today architects are not accustomed to dealing directly with workmen. If there’s any problem on a job, we notify the superintendent. This is simply one of the basic rules of the trade. The architect does not walk onto the site and pull down a wall. Mr. Wright had his share of troubles with workmen. Once, when he was on a job, a couple of bricks came flying by, barely missing him.

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“To succeed in the world we do everything we can to appear successful already.”
La Rochefoucauld

The challenge with “success theatre” is that it can prevent you from analyzing past performance and acknowledging what isn’t working. It can also prevent you from asking friends and business partners for honest feedback and advice on how to improv if you are too busy projecting how well things are going. When I am asked how well it’s going at SKMurphy I often reply, “It’s still the same desperate struggle for survival.”

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“Am I in order? Alas, no! My changeable and restless nature will torment me to the end. I shall never see plainly what I ought to do. The love of the better will have stood between me and the good. Yearning for the ideal will have lost me reality. Vague aspiration and undefined desire will have been enough to make my talents useless, and to neutralize my powers. Unproductive nature that I am, tortured by the belief that production was required of me, may not my very remorse be a mistake and a superfluity?

Scherer’s phrase comes back to me, “We must accept ourselves as we are.”

Henri Frederic Amiel in his Journal

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“Never make fun of someone if they mispronounce a word.
It means they learned it by reading.”
Anon

h/t Ashley Ruggirello (@amRuggs)

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ProcrastinationFlowChart

h/t ManagementSpeak (@ManagerSpeak)

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