What are your favorite startup quotes?


I'm building a directory of startup quotes so that when us starters need some quick wisdom or a pick me up, we can browse though awesome quotes about a chosen startup topic. I'm almost done building out a rough prototype of the site and am harvesting quotes to add to it now.

Links to any websites that have quotes related to startups are also appreciated (I already know about startupquote ).

Thanks in advance for your help!


asked Jan 20 '11 at 08:16
Andy Cook
2,309 points
  • Thanks for the quotes so far everyone! If you could put the person who actually said the quote too that'd be awesome. Thanks! – Andy Cook 13 years ago
  • Just do it. -nike – Ricardo 13 years ago

15 Answers


From Founders at Work :

No, it was never clear that we were on
to something huge. You never know
anything. The hardest part in a
startup is that you wake up one
morning, and you feel great about the
day, and you think, “We’re kicking
ass.” And then you wake up the next
morning, and you think “We’re dead.”
And literally nothing’s changed.

-Joe Krauss (Cofounder, Excite)
answered Jan 20 '11 at 09:13
Brian Deterling
984 points
  • This is actually one of my favorite quotes from FaW. Thanks for sharing – Andy Cook 13 years ago
  • That really stuck out with me as I am currently reading the book. It is quite an amazing book. – Percent20 13 years ago


“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.”

-Les Brown (motivational speaker)

answered Jan 20 '11 at 10:25
91 points


Eric Sink on "Starting Your Own Company"...

In your first 40 hours per week, build
custom software or websites for other
companies. Charge them enough money to
pay your expenses. In your other 40
hours per week, work on building your

If this sounds like a lot of hard
work, you are absolutely right. If
that sounds unappealing, keep your job

answered Jan 20 '11 at 08:38
Brandon King
959 points


These quotes are from the 2010 Business of Software conference. I'm including a link back to the original post (my blog ) for each speaker, in case it helps you. I can remove the links if not necessary. Dharmesh Shah (link to original post ):

  • “Don’t make customers happy. Make happy customers.”
  • "Brand is what people say about you after you’ve left the room.”
  • “Venture capital is neither necessary nor evil.”
  • “Services are low margin…except when they’re not.”
  • “Invest in the experience, not the product, and everyone wins.”
  • “Customers are very good at finding problems, not at finding solutions for those problems.”
  • “Transparency trumps secrecy.”
  • “Dream Big. Execute Small.”
  • “Don’t make (fill in the blank) software. Make (fill in the blank) superstars.”
Seth Godin (link to original post ):

  • “The reason to fit in is to be ignored.”
  • “Software that’s boring will never turn into a movement.”
  • “People are waiting to be led.”
  • “Competence is no longer a scarce commodity.”

Peldi (link to original post ):

  • “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
  • “Fall in love with the problem, not the solution.”
  • “Create something so good people will want to copy it.”
  • “If you work while they [your family] sleep, they won’t know you’re ignoring them.”

Rob Walling (link to original post ):

  • “The ineffective marketer asks you to buy too soon.”
Dan Bricklin (link to original post ):

  • “The hard part of feature design…what to leave out.”
answered Jan 21 '11 at 01:18
Zuly Gonzalez
9,194 points
  • Whoa! Awesome list and thanks so much! – Andy Cook 13 years ago
  • Glad it helped! I have more quotes written down in my notes. I'll update this later. – Zuly Gonzalez 13 years ago


“Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity."

  • Will Smith (yes, the actor).
answered Jan 20 '11 at 15:21
4,815 points


"Creativity comes from Constraints"

-Biz Stone (Twitter co-founder)

answered Jan 20 '11 at 17:17
Akash Nemani
41 points


You just can't beat the person who never gives up. -Babe Ruth

answered Jan 20 '11 at 23:55
Chris Corbin
41 points


If you aren't embarrassed about your 1st version, you have launched it very very late

answered Jan 21 '11 at 05:48
482 points
  • +1 I don't think it deserves a downvote. This quote says to me "Get Things Moving" – Eiefai 13 years ago
  • Thank you eiefai – Viv 13 years ago


Rule #1: The customer is always right.

Rule #2: When the customer is wrong, see rule #1

answered Jan 20 '11 at 17:23
119 points
  • I hate this 'rule', it's exactly the reason 75% of all good startups go downhill, trying to patch their product for one good client. – Corey Hart 13 years ago
  • The problem with this is that not everyone is your customer, even if they're buying your product/service. The hard part is determining which customers to keep. The ones you want to keep are the same ones who are always right. – Elie 13 years ago


"Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black"

Henry Ford


answered Jan 21 '11 at 14:41
Nico Granelli
111 points


"Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life [or do you want to change the world]"

Supposed quote from Steve Jobs to John Sculley about joining him at Apple.

Note though that I am not a Jobs fan - his ethics are highly questionable and I don't think I would like working for him. But that quote is clear about doing something.

It is similar to the line from The Shawshank Redemption:

"Get busy living, or get busy dying"

answered Jan 21 '11 at 15:41
Tim J
8,346 points


"Anything worth achieving in life has a dip" - Seth Godin

answered Jan 22 '11 at 01:34
Ankur Jain
566 points


"If you think it's expensive to hire a
professional to do the job, wait until
you hire an amateur."

-Red Adair

“Teamwork is no accident. It is the
by-product of good leadership.”

-John Adair
answered Jan 23 '11 at 15:48
Luke Capizano
321 points


Fred Terman:

"It is better to have one seven-foot jumper on your team than any number of six-foot jumpers.

"I most enjoy helping to build something up, taking an unformulated enterprise and making it into what it could become.

"When we set out to create a community of technical scholars in Silicon Valley, there wasn't much here and the rest of the world looked awfully big. Now a lot of the rest of the world is here."

answered Jan 20 '11 at 19:26
Henry The Hengineer
4,316 points


"A journey of one thousand miles begins with one step"

answered Jan 23 '11 at 12:02
1,231 points

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