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10 quotes from famous startup founders explained

by Ana Lopez
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You can look for wisdom anywhere, but one of the best places to find it is with people with experience.

“The credit belongs to the man who actually stands in the arena…” – T. Roosevelt

In this article, we quote and elaborate on 10 popular quotes that distill the wisdom of some of the most successful startup founders in the world.

“Any time is a good time to start a business.” –Ron Conway, investor

In the world of startups, ideas are cheap. What really counts is action.

It’s easy to find an excuse why you shouldn’t start your project right now. Macroeconomic conditions, lack of free time, etc. However, playing this game is a great way to make sure you never get into it.

Use this quote as inspiration to take the first steps, no matter how small, to implement 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 nice quote to start with. If you feel the same as Jeff Bezos about your project, then it’s a good idea to give your idea a try. If you don’t and you’re too afraid of failure – then maybe you haven’t found an idea that doesn’t excite you enough yet, and waiting might be the better option.

“Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” — Drew Houston, Dropbox

This is a reality that you just 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 right time as soon as possible.

“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the unsuccessful entrepreneurs is sheer perseverance.” —Steve Jobs, Apple

And speaking of failure, the best way to deal with it is perseverance. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to keep doing what doesn’t work, 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: find 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 the biggest competitive advantage startups have in the hiring game. As a starting project, you probably can’t offer the highest pay or the highest security. What you can offer is meaningful work with the potential for a huge impact on the world. Take advantage of this.

“If you’re not ashamed of the first version of your product, you launched too late.” —Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn

As a founder, it is very tempting to try to get everything perfect before showing it to the world. However, this attitude would lead you to invest too much in the first version of your product that has not yet been tested with real users. Instead, you should suppress your sense of perfectionism and involve your clients 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. When you build an innovative product, you really need customer feedback. And people who are dissatisfied with your offerings 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 brightest 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 a startup founder, you are selling dreams. Essentially, your key to success is convincing high-quality people that your company has extremely high future potential.

In this environment it is very easy to oversell and underdeliver. While this is unavoidable in some circumstances, it makes a good impression if you go the extra mile when possible.

“I skate to where the puck will be, not where it has been.” –Wayne Gretzy, hockey star

In fact, this non-startup quote is very applicable to startups. Timing matters. It’s one of those crucial factors for the success of a startup.

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