You can seek wisdom anywhere, but one of the best places to find it is from experienced people.
“The credit belongs to the man who is really in the arena…” – T. Roosevelt
In this article, we quote and expand on 10 popular quotes that distill wisdom from some of the world’s most successful startup founders.
“Any time is good to start a business.” –Ron Conway, investor
In the world of startups, ideas are cheap. What really matters is the action.
It’s easy to come up with an excuse why you shouldn’t start your project right now. Macroeconomic conditions, lack of free time, etc. Playing this game, however, is a great way to make sure you never start.
Use this quote as inspiration to take the first steps, however small, towards executing your idea.
“I knew if I failed I wouldn’t regret it, but I knew the only thing I could regret is not trying.” –Jeff Bezos, Amazon
Another great quote to get you started. If you feel the same as Jeff Bezos about your project, then it’s a no-brainer you should give your idea a try. If not, and you’re too afraid of failure, then maybe you haven’t yet found an idea that you’re passionate enough about, and waiting might be the best option.
“Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once. –Drew Houston, Dropbox
It’s a reality that you simply have to deal with. Startups are extremely risky. Most ideas don’t work. That’s why it’s important to plan for failure – fail fast, fail cheaply, and make sure you get to the point where you’re right as quickly as possible.
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from unsuccessful ones is sheer perseverance.” –Steve Jobs, Apple
And when it comes to failure, the best way to deal with it is through persistence. Of course, that doesn’t mean doing what doesn’t work over and over again and hoping for a miracle. It means constantly iterating, pivoting, and tackling the problem you’re trying to solve from another angle.
“The secret to successful hiring is this: look for people who want to change the world.” –Marc Benioff, Salesforce
Attracting and retaining top startup talent is a complex task. What Benioff does is single out the biggest competitive advantage startups have in the hiring game. As a startup project, you probably can’t offer the highest salary or the highest security. What you can offer, however, is meaningful work with the potential to make a huge impact on the world. Use this to your advantage.
“If you’re not bothered by the first version of your product, you launched it too late.” –Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn
As a founder, it’s very tempting to try and perfect everything before showing it to the world. However, this attitude would lead you to overinvest in the first version of your product which has not yet been tested with real users. Instead, you need to remove your sense of perfectionism and involve your customers in the building process.
“Your most dissatisfied customers are your greatest source of learning.” –Bill Gates, Microsoft
This quote explains one of the reasons why the Reid Hoffman quote above is true. You cannot learn behind closed doors. If you’re building an innovative product, you desperately need customer feedback. And people who aren’t happy with your offer have some of the most valuable feedback.
“Don’t be arrogant. Don’t be flashy. There is always someone better than you. –Tony Hsieh, Zappos
It’s hard to succeed in the startup world, which is full of some of the smartest people in the world, without enough humility and self-knowledge.
Of course, behaving humbly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be self-confident. Without it, it would be very difficult to find the aforementioned perseverance.
“Always deliver more than expected.” –Larry Page, Google
As the founder of a start-up, you sell dreams. Essentially, your key to success is convincing high quality people that your business has extremely high future potential.
In this environment, it is very easy to oversell and undersell. While unavoidable in some circumstances, going the extra mile when possible makes a good impression.
“I skate where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” –Wayne Gretzy, hockey star
This non-startup quote is, in fact, very applicable to startups. Timing is important. This is one of the crucial factors for the success of a startup.