Over the past few months, our CEOWORLD Magazine team spoke with some of the World’s highly successful and effective CEOs, entrepreneurs, and other corporate executives and put the question to them: “What’s the best advice you’ve ever received to lead and succeed?” Here’s what they had to say.
I’m going to present a “greatest Quotes” package. Please don’t forget: Which of these entrepreneurial insights resonated most with you? Enjoy!
1) Surely you’ve heard of Mark Zuckerberg, the über-successful entrepreneur who co-founded Facebook says “If you just work on stuff that you like and you’re passionate about, you don’t have to have a master plan with how things will play out.”
2) “When you see an opportunity that you believe is compelling and large, it’s hard not to think about it and take action to pursue it.” – Tim Schigel, the Chairman and Founder of ShareThis, offers the most innovative sharing platform for today’s social audience.
3) “There are always more than two sides to every story — so make sure you seek all sides before making a decision.” – Carrie Freeman Parsons, Vice Chair, Freeman
4) “The reality is, entrepreneurs are programmed to be very idealistic… but we’re also a little paranoid. Overcoming that paranoia and being open to things is really important.” – Louis Piconi, Co-founder and Executive Vice President of Strategic Activities, Think Through Learning Inc.
5) “If there was a playbook you could follow to success, we’d all be using it. But we’re all different, and in our case, hard work and general enthusiasm are really important.” – Ben Lerer, co-founder & CEO of Thrillist Media Group and the Managing Director of Lerer Ventures.
6) “I am naturally inclined to worry and question all assumptions to ensure we don’t get cocky or arrogant.” – Daniel Lubetzky, the chief executive of Kind Snacks.
7) “Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” –Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO.
8) “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” –Steve Jobs, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, Apple.
9) “It’s almost always harder to raise capital than you thought it would be, and it always takes longer. So plan for that.” –Richard Harroch, Managing Director and Global Head of M&A at VantagePoint Capital Partners, a large venture capital fund.
10) “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” –Drew Houston, Dropbox Co-Founder and CEO, Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily.
11) “Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.” – Guy Kawasaki, Alltop Co-Founder, entrepreneur, and special advisor to the Motorola business unit of Google.
12) “Any time is a good time to start a company.” – Ron Conway, Noted Start-Up Investor, SV Angel
13) “Ideas are commodity. Execution of them is not.” – Michael Dell, Dell Chairman and CEO
15) “I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.” – Jeff Bezos, Founder, President, Chief Executive Officer & Chairman of the board of Amazon.com.
16) “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” – Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn Co-Founder and Venture Capitalist, follow him on Twitter @reidhoffman.
17) “Projections are just bullshit. They’re just guesses.” – Jason Fried, Founder, Basecamp (formerly known as 37signals).
18) “User experience is everything. It always has been, but it’s undervalued and underinvested in. If you don’t know user-centered design, study it. Hire people who know it. Obsess over it. Live and breathe it. Get your whole company on board.” –Evan Williams, Co-Founder, Twitter.
19) “What do you need to start a business? Three simple things: know your product better than anyone, know your customer, and have a burning desire to succeed.” – Dave Thomas, the founder and chief executive officer of Wendy’s, an international fast food chain restaurant.
20) “As long as you’re going to be thinking anyway, think big.” – Donald Trump, The Trump Organization President.
21) “You shouldn’t focus on why you can’t do something, which is what most people do. You should focus on why perhaps you can, and be one of the exceptions.” – Steve Case, AOL Co-Founder and CEO; now Chairman of Case Foundation and Revolution (LivingSocial, Zipcar, Exclusive Resorts, Everyday Health, FedBid, Miraval, etc)
22) “Always deliver more than expected.” – Larry Page, chief executive officer at, Google.
23) “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over.” – Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder.
24) “Even if you don’t have the perfect idea to begin with, you can likely adapt.” – Victoria Ransom, Wildfire Interactive Co-Founder.
25) “High expectations are the key to everything.” – Sam Walton, Walmart Founder.
26) “Make your team feel respected, empowered and genuinely excited about the company’s mission.” – Tim Westergren, Pandora Founder.
27) “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates, Microsoft Founder and former CEO.
28) “Your reputation is more important than your paycheck, and your integrity is worth more than your career.” — Ryan Freitas, About.me co-founder
29) “Every time we launch a feature, people yell at us.” — Angelo Sotira, deviantART co-founder.
30) “Be undeniably good. No marketing effort or social media buzzword can be a substitute for that.” —Anthony Volodkin, Hype Machine founder.
31) “Money is like gasoline during a road trip. You don’t want to run out of gas on your trip, but you’re not doing a tour of gas stations.” —Tim O’Reilly, O’Reilly Media founder and CEO.
32) “If you can’t feed a team with two pizzas, it’s too large.” —Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO
33) “Don’t worry about people stealing your design work. Worry about the day they stop.” —Jeffrey Zeldman, A List Apart Publisher.
- “The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” —Thomas Edison, General Electric Co-founder
- “Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.” —Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder
- “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is
- great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” —Steve Jobs, Apple Inc. co-founder, chairman and CEO
- “The most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement. The antidote is to every evening think what can be done better tomorrow.” —Ingvar Kamprad, IKEA founder
- “Always look for the fool in the deal. If you don’t find one, it’s you.” —Mark Cuban, AXS TV chairman and entrepreneur.
- “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” —Scott Belsky, Behance co-founder
- “There’s nothing wrong with staying small. You can do big things with a small team.” —Jason Fried, 37signals founder
- “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” —Drew Houston, Dropbox founder and CEO
- “Get five or six of your smartest friends in a room and ask them to rate your idea.” —Mark Pincus, Zynga CEO
- “If there’s something you want to build, but the tech isn’t there yet, just find the closest possible way to make it happen.”—Dennis Crowley, Foursquare co-founder
- “I never took a day off in my twenties. Not one.” — Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder
- “Fail often so you can succeed sooner.” —Tom Kelley, Ideo partner
- “Nothing works better than just improving your product.” —Joel Spolsky, Stack Overflow co-founder
- “It’s not that we need new ideas, but we need to stop having old ideas.” —Edwin Land, Polaroid co-founder
- “We are currently not planning on conquering the world.” —Sergey Brin, Google co-founder
- “Get big quietly, so you don’t tip off potential competitors.” —Chris Dixon, Andreesen Horowitz investor
- “Don’t try to be original, just try to be good.” —Paul Rand, Graphic Designer
- “It’s hard to do a really good job on anything you don’t think about in the shower.” —Paul Graham, YCombinator co-founder
- “If you’re interested in the living heart of what you do, focus on building things rather than talking about them.” —Ryan Freitas, About.me co-founder
- “Entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and a want to create.” —David Karp, Tumblr founder and CEO
- “Best startups generally come from somebody needing to scratch an itch.” —Michael Arrington, TechCrunch founder and co-editor
- “I don’t think an economic slump will hurt good ideas.” —Rob Kalin, Etsy founder
- “The last 10% it takes to launch something takes as much energy as the first 90%.” —Rob Kalin, Etsy founder
- “Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.” —Guy Kawasaki, Alltop co-founder and entrepreneur
- “Every day that we spent not improving our products was a wasted day.” — Joel Spolsky, Stack Overflow co-founder
- “Stay self-funded as long as possible.” —Garrett Camp, founder of Expa, Uber and StumbleUpon
- “The only thing worse than starting something and failing… is not starting something.” —Seth Godin, Squidoo founder, author and blogger
- “When I’m old and dying, I plan to look back on my life and say ‘wow, that was an adventure,’ not ‘wow, I sure felt safe.’ “—Tom Preston-Werner, Github co-founder
- “Turn a perceived risk into an asset.” —Aaron Patzer, Mint founder
- “Anything that is measured and watched, improves.” —Bob Parsons, GoDaddy founder
- “Fortunes are built during the down market and collected in the up market.” —Jason Calacanis, LAUNCH Ticker founder
- “No more romanticizing about how cool it is to be an entrepreneur. It’s a struggle to save your company’s life – and your own skin – every day of the week.” —Spencer Fry, CarbonMade co-founder
- “I try not to make any decisions that I’m not excited about.” —Jake Nickell, Threadless founder and CEO
- “See things in the present, even if they are in the future.” —Larry Ellison, Oracle co-founder
- “If you’re going to put your product in beta – put your business model in beta with it.” —Joe Kraus, Google Ventures partner
- “You can’t make anything viral, but you can make something good.” —Peter Shankman, HARO founder
- “It’s more effective to do something valuable than to hope a logo or name will say it for you.” —Jason Cohen, Smart Bear Software founder
- “Don’t worry about funding if you don’t need it. Today it’s cheaper to start a business than ever.” —Noah Everett, Twitpic founder
- “Ideas are commodity. Execution of them is not.” —Michael Dell, Dell chairman and CEO
- “Data beats emotions.” —Sean Rad, Adly and Tinder founder
- “I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.” —Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO
- “You don’t need to have a 100-person company to develop that idea.” —Larry Page, Google co-founder
- “A ‘startup’ is a company that is confused about – 1. What its product is. 2. Who its customers are. 3. How to make money.”— Dave McClure, 500Startups co-founder
- “I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars — I look for 1-foot bars that I can step over.” —Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway, chairman and CEO
- “Don’t be cocky. Don’t be flashy. There’s always someone better than you.” —Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO
- “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right.” —Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company founder
- “Behold the turtle, he makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.” —Bruce Levin
- “Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.” —Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post Media Group president and EIC
- “Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical.” —Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO
- “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” —Walt Disney, Disney founder
- “A person who is quietly confident makes the best leader.” —Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures co-founder
- “We are really competing against ourselves, we have no control over how other people perform.” —Pete Cashmore, Mashable founder and CEO .
- “Even if you don’t have the perfect idea to begin with, you can likely adapt.” —Victoria Ransom, Wildfire Interactive co-founder .
- “High expectations are the key to everything.” —Sam Walton, Walmart founder
- “Don’t take too much advice. Most people who have a lot of advice to give — with a few exceptions — generalize whatever they did. Don’t over-analyze everything. I myself have been guilty of over-thinking problems. Just build things and find out if they work.” —Ben Silbermann, Pinterest founder & CEO.
- “You just have to pay attention to what people need and what has not been done.” —Russell Simmons, Def Jam founder
- “Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself” —Oprah Winfrey, Harpo Productions, OWN founder
- “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.” — Harland Sanders, KFC founder
- “So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.” — Caterina Fake, Founder & CEO, Findery; Cofounder, Flickr & Hunch; Chairman, Etsy
- “Trust your instincts.” —Estee Lauder, Estee Lauder founder
- “There’s lots of bad reasons to start a company. But there’s only one good, legitimate reason, and I think you know what it is: it’s to change the world.” —Phil Libin, Evernote CEO
- “If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business.” —Ray Kroc, McDonald’s founder
- “Theory is splendid but until put into practice, it is valueless.” —James Cash Penney, J.C. Penney founder
- “Sustaining a successful business is a hell of a lot of work, and staying hungry is half the battle.” —Wendy Tan White, MoonFruit co-founder and CEO.
- “If you define yourself by how you differ from the competition, you’re probably in trouble.” —Omar Hamoui, AdMob co-founder.
- “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” —Steve Jobs, Apple Inc. co-founder, chairman and CEO.
“Don’t be afraid to assert yourself, have confidence in your abilities and don’t let the bastards get you down.” — Michael Bloomberg, Bloomberg L.P. founder
Tell me: Do any of these entrepreneurial insights ring true to you? What else would you add to the list: Greatest Quotes Package?
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