Quotes For Entrepreneurs Collected in January 2019

By | 2019-03-01T15:25:46+00:00 January 31st, 2019|Quotes, skmurphy|0 Comments

I collect these quotes for entrepreneurs from a variety of sources and tweet them on @skmurphy about once a day where you can get them hot off the mojo wire. At the end of each month I curate them in a blog post that adds commentary and may contain a longer passage from the same source for context. Please enter your E-mail address if you would like to have new blog posts sent to you.


Quotes For Entrepreneurs Collected in January 2019

My theme for this month is disillusionment — the loss of illusions. This can be a paradigm shift, or when a new project gets moved from the “probably not a good idea” column of the executive Kanban board to the adjacent one marked “we’re late!”

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“Blessed is the man who  has some congenial work, some occupation in which he can put his heart, and which affords a complete outlet to all the forces that are in him.”
John Burroughs

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“A professional does not wait for inspiration, he acts in anticipation of it.”
Steve Pressfield “Turning Pro

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“We work to become, not to acquire”
Elbert Hubbard

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“Wisdom comes from disillusionment”
George Santayana

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“People you can’t count on to treat you well personally probably shouldn’t be counted on to treat you well financially.”
Stephanie Hurlburt (@sehurlburt) conclusion to “Story of a Deal Gone Wrong

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“The four elements of high standards as we see it:

  1. They are teachable.
    People are pretty good at learning high standards simply through exposure. High standards are contagious. Bring a new person onto a high standards team, and they’ll quickly adapt.
  2. They are domain specific and must be learned separately in every arena of interest.
    Understanding this point is important because it keeps you humble. You can consider yourself a person of high standards in general and still have debilitating blind spots. There can be whole arenas of endeavor where you may not even know that your standards are low or non-existent, and certainly not world class. It’s critical to be open to that likelihood.
  3. You must recognize them.
  4. You must explicitly coach realistic scope, communicating how long they will take to master.”

Jeff Bezos (condensed from  2017 letter to shareholders )

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“Lostness is a function of your assumptions about where you belong.”
William Stafford

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“The truth which makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.”
Herbert Sebastian Agar

h/t Conal Elliot Quotes Collection

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“Every idea appears at first as a strange visitor, and when it begins to be realized, it is hardly distinguishable from fantasy.”
Goethe in Maxims and Reflections

Another type of disillusionment: what the status quo views as a foolish notion can become all too real with the diligent efforts of innovators.

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“The only thing more difficult than starting something new in an organization is stopping something old.”
Russell Ackoff

h/t Hermanni Hyytiala (@hemppah)

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“Something can only become an illusion after disillusionment. Before that, it is something real.”
Lynda Barry in “What It Is

Entrepreneur’s perspective: a startup can only become real after customer feedback removes illusions, before that it is a vision. Without the disillusionment of customer feedback you cannot clarify your vision and make it real.

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“Lots of folks confuse bad management with destiny.”
Kin Hubbard in “Abe Martin’s Almanack” (1911)

Absolutely applicable to when you are your own boss and decisions you make in managing your career.

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“Education is free: credentials are expensive.”
Aaron Haspel  in “Everything

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“To begin with, our knowledge grows IN SPOTS. The spots may be large or small, but the knowledge never grows all over: some old knowledge always remains what it was. Your knowledge of pragmatism, let us suppose, is growing now. Later, its growth may involve considerable modification of opinions which you previously held to be true. But such modifications are apt to be gradual. To take the nearest possible example, consider these lectures of mine. What you first gain from them is probably a small amount of new information, a few new definitions, or distinctions, or points of view. But while these special ideas are being added, the rest of your knowledge stands still, and only gradually will you ‘line up’ your previous opinions with the novelties I am trying to instill, and modify to some slight degree their mass.

[…]

“Our minds thus grow in spots; and like grease spots, the spots spread. But we let them spread as little as possible: we keep unaltered as much of our old knowledge, as many of our old prejudices and beliefs, as we can. We patch and tinker more than we renew. The novelty soaks in; it stains the ancient mass; but it is also tinged by what absorbs it. Our past apperceives and co-operates; and in the new equilibrium in which each step forward in the process of learning terminates, it happens relatively seldom the the new fact is added raw. More usually it is embedded cooked, as one might say, or stewed down in the sauce of the old.”

William James Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking (1907)  Lecture 5 “Pragmatism and Common Sense”

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“Science walks forward on two feet, namely theory and experiment.”
Robert A. Millikan in 1923 Nobel Prize lecture.

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“You can’t wait for the truth to be delivered to you. You must proactively uncover the errors, assumptions, and biases in your own thinking.

Critical thinking is the deliberate, methodical, and purposeful pursuit of truth. It aims to discern the best answer to a question, conclusion to a discussion or debate, or judgement of a situation by utilizing the best methods and avoiding common errors. In short, critical thinking aims to discern the truth reliably from falsity in order to decide what to believe or do.

Critical thinking is distinct from creativity, which is the exploration of ideas without an immediate concern for their validation, and rhetoric, which is oriented toward persuasion.”

Ed Ipser in “Conquering Critical Thinking

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“At the grueling Iditarod, there’s a prize for the musher who finishes last: The Red Lantern.

Failing to finish earns you nothing, of course. But for the one who sticks it out, who arrives hours late, there’s the respect that comes from finding the strength to make it, even when all seems helpless.

Most parents (and most bosses) agree that this sort of dedication is a huge asset in life. I can’t help but notice that schools do nothing at all to encourage it.”

Seth Godin “The Red Lantern

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“Every thing must have a beginning, to speak in Sanchean phrase; and that beginning must be linked to something that went before. The Hindoos give the world an elephant to support it, but they make the elephant stand upon a tortoise. Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos; the materials must, in the first place, be afforded: it can give form to dark, shapeless substances, but cannot bring into being the substance itself. In all matters of discovery and invention, even of those that appertain to the imagination, we are continually reminded of the story of Columbus and his egg. Invention consists in the capacity of seizing on the capabilities of a subject, and in the power of molding and fashioning ideas suggested to it.”
Mary Shelley in  Frankenstein, Authors Introduction to the Standard Edition (1831)

h/t Mardy Grothe @drmardy (his version is bolded). I think this is a useful insight that invention is really a remix, repurpose, rearrangement, restructuring, reworking, recombination, etc.. of existing materials, ideas, resources.

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“Life is a quarry, out of which we are to mold and chisel and complete a character.”
Samuel Butler

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“It would be nice if all of the data which sociologists require could be enumerated because then we could run them through IBM machines and draw charts as the economists do. However, not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”
William Bruce Cameron in “Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking” (1963)

h/t Quote Investigator’s “Not Everything That Counts Can Be Counted” (bold added to original to highlight key quote).

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“Fast Food Fallacy: no difference plus no difference repeated eventually equals a clear difference.”
Gerald Weinberg in “Secrets of Consulting.”

Weinberg offers an particular analogy was a fast food hamburger chain removing one caraway seed at a time from a bun, each one removed is an imperceptible change, until it isn’t.

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The simplest organizing idea here is the notion of the half-life of knowledge. We know that this half-life is shrinking in all sorts of fields. What happens when that half-life is shorter than the time it takes to update a relevant body of knowledge and fold the new knowledge into certification processes and school curricula? Professional associations worry about this. Schools doing curriculum design worry as well. Organizations that find schools and professional associations moving too slowly worry and respond by creating corporate universities.

What does it all mean from the perspective of an individual trying to cope? What do you do if you understand that you can’t simply turn the problem over to the experts?

The standard responses of going back to school or trusting in the continuing education requirements of your chosen field are insufficient. All of those responses are rooted in the assumption that learning is simply about mastering a body of knowledge.”

Jim McGee in Learning, Bodies of Knowledge, and Half-Lives

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“We’ve spent 40 years wandering in the desert, and we think that it’s an enchanted forest. If we’re to find a way out of this desert and into the future, the first step is to see that we’ve been in a desert.”
Peter Thiel in his talk for the 12th Annual Barbara K. Olson Memorial Lecture 11-16-12 at 41:06

h/t Erik Torenberg (@eriktorenberg) for bringing it to my attention and Dan Wang for the source of the quote in his “Why Peter Thiel is pessimistic about Technological Innovation

This is a variation on his conclusion to  earlier article:

“After 40 years of wandering, it is not easy to find a path back to the future. If there is to be a future, we would do well to reflect about it more. The first and the hardest step is to see that we now find ourselves in a desert, and not in an enchanted forest.”
Peter Thiel in “The End of the Future” (Oct-3-2011)

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“I don’t believe in a media elite. I do believe in a media organism and this organism exists in the space between the people who create the media and the people who consume them–the media exist to confirm the delusions of the crowd. That is what the media are there for, to reify every hysterical belief that the mob might suddenly espouse. So what we are dealing with here is a collective hallucination–what Guy Debord called the Spectacle. A completely coherent, seamless loop exists that is continuous between the great engine of fear that is television and the terror of the populace. The media have managed a complete departure of the map from the landscape.”

John Perry Barlow in a 1995 interview by Leila Conners “Unmediated Man” in New Perspectives Quarterly (available at EFF as “Go Placidly Amidst the Noise and Haste“)

Twitter seems to be television on steroids when it comes to amplifying irrational fears and hysterical beliefs.

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“The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And, because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change until we notice how our failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.”
R.D. Laing

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“Underrated act that has compound benefits: Putting people in business.
Or, in other words–giving people their break. They remember it forever.”
Erik Torenberg (@eriktorenberg)

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“I write to escape…to escape poverty.”
Edgar Rice Burroughs

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“There are seeds of self-destruction in all of us that will bear only unhappiness if allowed to grow.”
Dorothea Brande

I blogged about Dorothea Brande in “Dorothea Brande’s “Becoming a Writer:” 6 Tips for Entrepreneurs

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“Anxiety is the unwillingness to play even when you know the odds are for you.
Courage is the willingness to play even when you know the odds are against you.”
Thomas Szasz

Like paratroopers dropping behind front lines, entrepreneur entering a new market need to be prepared to persevere even though they are surrounded and cut off from immediate help.

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