‘Be a learn-it-all, not a know-it-all’ - quotes and startup tips from 35 investors
This new book presents insights from 35 investors and business coaches. Here are some of the outstanding and witty quotes for entrepreneurs.
The book, A Dozen Lessons for Entrepreneurs by Tren Griffin is in YourStory’s pick of the Top 10 Books of 2017 for Entrepreneurs. Each of the 35 chapters presents 12 insights from a venture capital investor or business coach, along with the author’s analysis of each tip.
The investors are from legendary firms such as Sequoia Capital, Y Combinator, Benchmark, Union Square Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The featured business coaches include Bill Campbell, Steve Blank, and Eric Ries (see my reviews of his books Lean Startup and The Startup Way).
Here is our pick of one key quote from each entrepreneurship expert featured in the 320-page book. See also the full book review, author interview, and our weekly column Storybites, a curation of top quotes of the week from startup journeys.
Great entrepreneurs are far more missionaries than mercenaries. - Andy Rachleff, WealthFront
The best entrepreneurs don’t know what they don’t know, so they attempt to do the impossible. They often succeed. - John Doerr, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Entrepreneurship is, at its very core, a discipline of reconciling contradiction. – Scott Belsky, Benchmark
If you’re spending the next five to ten years of your life doing something, pick your idea wisely. - Josh Kopelman, First Round Capital
Ideas that most people derided as ridiculous have produced the best outcomes. Don’t do the obvious thing. - Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures
Outsized returns often come from betting against conventional wisdom, and conventional wisdom is usually right. - Jeff Bezos, Amazon
Whenever you’re betting against the consensus, there’s a significant probability you’re going to be wrong, so you have to be humble. – Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates
Brilliance can’t be taught, but the operational stuff can be. – Bill Campbell, business coach
A startup is an organisation dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. – Eric Ries, ‘Lean Startup’
Ten years ago, you needed $5 million to start a business. Today, you need $70 and some coding skills. - Steve Anderson, Baseline Ventures
Software is eating the world. - Marc Andreessen, Andreessen Horowitz
What the smartest people do on the weekend is what everyone else will do during the week in ten years. - Chris Dixon, Andreessen Horowitz
Be a learn-it-all, not a know-it-all. - Peter Fenton, Benchmark
The exciting thing about market economics is that stupidity equals opportunity. - Paul Graham, Y Combinator
It’s in the down market that real entrepreneurs are formed. - Mark Suster, Upfront Ventures
If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late. - Reid Hoffman, Greylock Partners
Every time you make the hard, correct decision, you become a bit more courageous, and every time you make the easy, wrong decision, you become a bit more cowardly. - Ben Horowitz, Andreessen Horowitz
The single most important thing an entrepreneur needs to learn is whom to take advice from and on what topic. - Vinod Khosla, Khosla Ventures
Founders should understand the fit between the company, their sector, the VC firm, and the partner in charge. - Jenny Lee, GGV Capital
Little companies have really two advantages: stealth and speed. - Doug Leone, Sequoia Capital
Brands are not wrappers. Brands are based on the values of the founders. - Dan Levitan, Maveron
Good stories always beat good spreadsheets. – Jim Goetz, Sequoia Capital
Innovations seem inevitable in retrospect, but at the time it’s an uphill battle - Jessica Livingston, Y Combinator
The most successful entrepreneurs tend to start with a desire to solve an interesting problem – one that’s often driven by personal frustration. - Roelof Botha, Sequoia Capital
Great execution is at least ten times more important and one hundred times harder than a good idea. – Sam Altman, Y Combinator
Business models can be a weapon against incumbents. - Jim Goetz, Sequoia Capital
It is incredibly challenging to build a long-term sustainable business on paid marketing alone. - Kirsten Green, Forerunner Ventures
The dangers of over-capitalisation are, in many cases, even higher and graver than under-capitalisation - Jim Bryer, Bryer Capital
It’s one thing to be wrong about the valuation and the timing. It’s another thing to be wrong about the business model. - Mary Meeker, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
You can have a great team of people, but if they’re fishing in the wrong spot, they’re not going to catch any fish. - Rich Barton, Benchmark
Business plans are the tool existing companies use for execution. They are the wrong tool to search for a business model. – Steve Blank, ‘The Startup Owner’s Manual’
Five-year plans aren’t worth the ink cartridge they’re printed with. - Michael Moritz, Sequoia Capital
Approach with humility; have strong opinions but weakly held; change your mind a lot; and experiment and iterate. - Chamath Palihapitiya, Social Capital
When building a company, microeconomics is fundamental; macroeconomics is entertainment. - Naval Ravikant, AngelList
The team you build is the company you build. - Keith Rabois, Khosla Ventures
Entrepreneurship is a team sport with very many lonely moments. - Heidi Roizen, Draper Fisher Jurvetson
Great companies capture at least some of the value they create. - Peter Thiel, Founders Fund
Venture capital is not even a home-run business. It’s a grand-slam business. - Bill Curley, Benchmark
The role of venture capitalists is to be great opportunists. The visionaries are the entrepreneurs. - Ann Winblad, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners
Most of you will fail, disrespected, impoverished, but we are grateful for the risks you are taking and the sacrifices you are making for the sake of the economic growth of the planet and pulling others out of poverty. You are the source of our anti-fragility. Our nation thanks you. – Nassim Taleb, ‘Anti-Fragile’
YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).
Want to make your startup journey smooth? YS Education brings a comprehensive Funding Course, where you also get a chance to pitch your business plan to top investors. Click here to know more.