You can search for wisdom anywhere, but one of the best places to find it is with people with experience.
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…” – T. Roosevelt
In this article, we cite and elaborate on 10 popular quotes that distill the wisdom of some of the most successful startup founders in the world.
“Every time is a good time to start a company.” -Ron Conway, Investor
In the world of startups, ideas are cheap. What actually counts is action.
It’s easy to find an excuse as to why you shouldn’t start the project right now. Macroeconomics, lack of free time, etc. However, playing this game is a great way to make sure you never start.
Use this quote as inspiration to take the first steps, no matter how small, towards realizing your idea.
“I knew that if I failed, I wouldn’t regret it, but I knew that the only thing I could regret is not trying.” -Jeff Bezos, Amazon
Another great quote to get you started. If you feel the same way as Jeff Bezos about your project, then it’s easy to try your idea. If you don’t, and you’re too afraid to fail – then maybe you haven’t found an idea that excites you enough yet, and waiting might be the better option.
“Don’t worry about failure; you only need to be right once.” –Drew Houston, Dropbox
This is a reality 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 cheap, and make sure you get to the one time you’re right as quickly as possible.
“I am convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the unsuccessful ones is sheer persistence.” -Steve Jobs, Apple
And when it comes to failure, the best way to deal with it is through persistence. Of course, this doesn’t mean doing what doesn’t work over and over and hoping for a miracle. It means constantly iterating, pivoting, and tackling the problem you’re trying to solve from a different angle.
“The secret to successful hiring is this: look for the people who want to change the world.” -Marc Benioff, Salesforce
Attracting and retaining top startup talent is a complex task. What Benioff does is highlight the biggest competitive advantages startups have in the hiring game. As a startup, you probably can’t offer the highest salary or the highest security. What you can offer, however, is meaningful work with the potential for great impact on the world. Use this to your advantage.
“If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” —Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn
As a founder, it’s very tempting to try to get everything perfect before showing it to the world. However, this attitude will cause you to over-invest in the first version of your product that has not yet been tested against real users. Instead, suppress your sense of perfectionism and involve your customers in the building process.
“Your most dissatisfied customers are the greatest source of learning.” -Bill Gates, Microsoft
This quote explains one of the reasons why the Reid Hoffman quote from above is true. You cannot learn behind closed doors. If you’re building an innovative product, you desperately need customer feedback. And people who are unhappy with your offering have some of the most valuable feedback.
“Don’t be cocky. 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-awareness.
Of course, being humble doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have confidence. Without it, it would be very difficult to find the above mentioned endurance.
“Always live more than expected.” -Larry Page, Google
As a startup entrepreneur, you are in the business of selling dreams. Essentially, the 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 underdeliver. While this is unavoidable in some cases, it makes a good impression to go the extra mile whenever possible.
“I skate where the puck should be, not where it has been.” -Wayne Gretzy, Hockey Star
This non-startup quote is actually very applicable to startups. Timing is important. It is one of the decisive factors for startup success.