One of the things that I’m passionate about is learning from those that have come before me – it reminds me that they are, in fact, human just like me and they did have a beginning of their journey despite where they are today.
I’ve been collecting quotes for as long as I can remember. Quotes, mantras, manifestos, creative expressions – you name it. I can remember my father giving me sage advice and constantly quoting people that were making a difference in their various fields of influence.
I began taking notes and haven’t stopped since. This post is my attempt to regurgitate a lot of the notes that I’m written down all over the place, in my laptop, my Evernote, moleskine, paper napkins, and more.
I hope you can use some of these quotes, from various inventors, thought leaders, business experts, startup gurus, software developers, artists, creatives, and more.
Be inspired today and let me know what quote or thought or manifesto got your juices flowing! Please also share your own favorites as well!
Everything’s impossible until somebody does it.
- Bruce Wayne
I don’t care if you’re a billionaire. If you haven’t started a company, really gambled your resume and your money and maybe even your marriage to just go crazy and try something on your own, you’re no pirate and you aren’t in the club.
- Michael Arrington, TechCrunch
Publishing improves transparency, and this transparency creates a better society for all people. Better scrutiny leads to reduced corruption and stronger democracies in all society’s institutions, including government, corporations and other organisations. A healthy, vibrant and inquisitive journalistic media plays a vital role in achieving these goals. We are part of that media.
There is an enemy. There is an intelligent, active, malign force working against us. Step one is to recognize this. This recognition alone is enormously powerful. It saved my life, and it will save yours.
I consider that the Golden Rule requires that if I like a program I must share it with other people who like it. Software sellers want to divide the users and conquer them, making each user agree not to share with others. I refuse to break solidarity with other users in this way.
- Richard Stallman, GNU
Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity.
- Edwin Land, Creator of the Polaroid
We have to learn to think in a new way.
The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.
- Jim Barksdale, Netscape
We intend to sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and fearlessness.
Good ideas alter the power balance in relationships, that is why good ideas are always initially resisted.
I don’t believe that old cliche that good things come to those who wait. I think good things come to those who want something so bad they can’t sit still.
We are really competing against ourselves, we have no control over how other people perform.
- Pete Cashmore, Mashable
I believe that not much happens of any significance when we’re in our comfort zone.
- Bob Parsons, GoDaddy
Our goal was never to make the most money possible, just enough to sustain our growth and contribute as much back to open source as possible.
- Matt Mullenweg, WordPress
The key to success for everything in business, science and technology is never to follow the others.
- Masaru Ibuka, Sony
You may not be a Picasso or Mozart but you don’t have to be. Just create to create. Create to remind yourself you’re still alive. Make stuff to inspire others to make something too. Create to learn a bit more about yourself.
A little (or more) boat burning would do many enterprises a world of good.
Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for. I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual, but you can’t stop us all… after all, we’re all alike.
Branding is what you do, not what you call it.
- Jason Cohen, Smart Bear Software
Do what you love and the rest will come.
- Dennis Crowley, Foursquare
Simplicity and common sense should characterize planning and strategic direction.
- Ingvar Kamprad, IKEA
Hiring people is an art, not a science, and resumes can’t tell you whether someone will fit into a company’s culture.
- Howard Schultz, Starbucks
The young and the ambitious share a common risk: appearing naive.
- Scott Belsky, Behance
The strongest thing you can cultivate as an entrepreneur is to not rely on luck but cultivating an ability to recognize fortunate situations when they are occurring.
- Jack Dorsey, Twitter
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
Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.
- Biz Stone, Twitter
We’re not really good at knowing what we want, and we are very quick to say “this sucks”. That’s where the opportunity lies.
- Gary Vaynerchuk, Wine Library
Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.
- Andrew Grove, Intel
When bootstrapping, you need to find a team that’s willing to work for nothing and spend their off hours with you.
- Spencer Fry, Carbonmade
Document everything. People are voracious for the products of productive people.
- Kevin Hale, Wufoo
If everyone is trying to prevent error, it screws things up.
- Edwin Catmull, Pixar
Learn early, learn often.
- Drew Houston, Dropbox
To be successful, you have to have quantity of quality.
- Mark Frauenfelder, Boing Boing
There’s so much interesting stuff in the world, and I have to sit there with textbooks?
- Andrey Ternovskiy, Chatroulette
Do the stuff you enjoy, as opposed to the stuff you think you should be doing.
- Evan Spiridellis, JibJab
We’re not motivated by money. We are into this thing that we’re building.
- David Karp, Tumblr
You have to be ready for hard work and frugal spending to get the idea off the ground.
- Garrett Camp, StumbleUpon
A good idea is worthless without impeccable execution and a commitment to iterate.
- Zach Klein, Vimeo
Keep an idea log where you write everything down, even the bad ideas.
- Joshua Schachter, Delicious
Ultimately the presence of other well known players is driving us to build a more compelling, innovative product.
- Josh Williams, Gowalla
I’m not looking for a legacy, and you’ll never shut up the critics. I’ve been around 50 years. When you’re a catalyst for change, you make enemies – and I’m proud of the ones I’ve got.
- Rupert Murdoch, NewsCorp
If you want to succeed, you’ve got to be okay to just lose control.
- Alexis Ohanian, Reddit
Discs and memory are far cheaper than annoying your customers.
- Steve Huffman, Reddit
Don’t worry about people stealing your design work. Worry about the day they stop.
- Jeffrey Zeldman, A List Apart
This feels particularly good. It reaffirms the confidence I have in people.
- Craig Newmark, Craigslist
One of the huge mistakes people make is that they try to force an interest on themselves. You don’t choose your passions; your passions choose you.
- Jeff Bezos, Amazon
Fail often so you can succeed sooner.
- Tom Kelley, IDEO
Encouraged in this direction, designers then apply their skill and imagination to sell dog biscuits, designer coffee, diamonds, detergents, hair gel, cigarettes, credit cards, sneakers, butt toners, light beer and heavy-duty recreational vehicles. Commercial work has always paid the bills, but many graphic designers have now let it become, in large measure, what graphic designers do. This, in turn, is how the world perceives design. The profession’s time and energy is used up manufacturing demand for things that are inessential at best.
- First Things First, Design Manifesto
Don’t try to be original, just try to be good.
- Paul Rand, Designer
You have got to be willing to be poor as an entrepreneur.
- Sean Parker, Founders Fund
Talk to your customers. Find out what they need. Don’t pay any attention to the competition. They’re not relevant to you.
- Joel Spolsky, Stack Exchange
The quality of any creative endeavor tends to approach the level of taste of whoever is in charge.
- John Gruber, Daring Fireball
Good is the enemy of great.
- Jim Collins
No one gives a damn about the size of your to-do list.
- Ryan Freitas, About.me
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
- Thomas Edison
Everyone tells you how they are going to be “special”, but few do the work to get there. Do the work.
- Mark Cuban
Charge for something and make more than you spend.
- Marco Arment, Instapaper
I built a system simple enough to sustain itself.
- Pierre Omidyar, Founder of Ebay
Success is defined in units of fun. It’s all about being happy.
- Jake Nickell, Threadless
I started the site when I was 19. I didn’t know much about business back then.
- Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
- Albert Einstein
We have a mantra: don’t be evil, which is to do the best things we know how for our users, for our customers, for everyone. So I think if we were known for that, it would be a wonderful thing.
- Larry Page, Google
Love. It isn’t very popular in technical circles to say a lot of mushy stuff about love, but frankly it’s a very very important part of what holds our project together.
- Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia
It’s much better to start during an economic downturn. Partnerships are easier; hiring is easier; and the competition starts later.
- Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn
Your work speaks for you.
- Michael Lopp
I’m always throwing out ideas, so it’s not creativity, it’s just volume.
- Ben Huh, LOLCats
We’re never done with simplicity.
Pretending you know what you’re doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you’re doing even if you don’t and do it.
Ideas are commodity. Execution of them is not.
You need a team that’s going to care about this thing as much as you do.
- Scott Heiferman, Meetup
No one remembers how you got there, only that you got there.
- Jason Calacanis, Mahalo
We want Google to be the third half of your brain.
- Sergey Brin, Google
Limitations can be creative – if you do not have a wind machine, use a fan. If you do not have the bandwidth, do not expect the cinema.
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
Solve a real problem and the world is yours.
- Aaron Patzer, Mint
Get your idea out in the wild, iterate your ass off, and hopefully build something spectacular.
- Kyle Bragger, Forrst
You have to be very nimble and very open minded. Your success is going to be very dependent on how your adapt.
- Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp
Remember: It’s not innovation until it gets built.
- Garry Tan, Posterous
I don’t know what a monopoly is until somebody tells me.
- Steve Ballmer, Microsoft
Hire great people and give them freedom to be awesome.
- Andrew Mason, Groupon
In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: Ten thousand hours.
This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often. If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.
Ideas that most people derided as ridiculous have produced the best outcomes. Don’t do the obvious thing.
- Fred Wison, Union Square Ventures
Success cannot come from standstill men. Methods change and men must change with them.
- James Cash Penney, J.C. Penny
We asked ourselves what we wanted this company to stand for. We didn’t want to just sell shoes. I wasn’t even into shoes – but I was passionate about customer service.
- Tony Hsieh, Zappos
I miss the anarchy.
- Ray Tomlinson, Inventor of Email
Don’t worry, be crappy. Revolutionary means you ship and then test… Lots of things made the first Mac in 1984 a piece of crap – but it was a revolutionary piece of crap.
The time has come to concentrate on the future of Linux rather than on the destructive goal of enriching oneself at the expense of the entire Linux community and its future.
I want to put a ding in the universe.
Empower yourself and realise the importance of contributing to the world by living your talent. Work on what you love. You are responsible for the talent that has been entrusted to you.
Just be prepared for a long and often uncertain journey. The good stuff doesn’t come easy.
- Tim Westergren, Pandora
Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.
User experience is everything. It always has been, but it’s still undervalued and under-invested 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, Twitter
Don’t spend too much time planning, release early and often, some things will work, others won’t, refine and move forward and above all forget the money, just make sure you love what you’re doing.
- Kevin Rose, Digg
With the anonymous system, you’ve got a place where people are uninhibited. … You’re getting very truthful conversation. And you judge somebody by the content of what they’re saying and not their username, not their registration date.
- Moot (Christopher Poole), 4Chan
I don’t think an economic slump will hurt good ideas.
- Rob Kalin, Etsy
When you innovate, you’ve got to be prepared for people telling you that you are nuts.
- Larry Ellison, Oracle
I open each class with an explanation of the singular importance of being a “dealmaker.” The manifesto of the dealmaker is simple: Reality is negotiable.
- Tim Ferris, 4 Hour Work Week
All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.
- Walt Disney
No successful company has had ever been the product of just one person.
- Caterina Fake, Flickr
Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.
- Henry Ford
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.
- Warren Buffet
If you have the right attitude, interesting problems will find you.
The defining qualities are about use: ease and simplicity. Caring beyond the functional imperative, we also acknowledge that products have a significance way beyond traditional views of function.
- Jonathan Ive, Apple
Formal education will make you a living, self education will make you a fortune.
- Jim Rohn
A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies.
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
Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.
Obscurity is a good thing. You can fail in obscurity. It removes the fear of failure.
- Jason Fried, 37signals
We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.
It’s a great discipline to have to report to somebody – even if you’re the sole owner.
- Tim O’Reilly
The Internet should enrich the lives of individual human beings.
You have chosen the wrong path if it’s not fun. And you are probably not taking enough risk if it’s not hard and rocky sometimes.
- Marc Benioff, Salesforce
When you find an idea that you just can’t stop thinking about, that’s probably a good one to pursue.
- Josh James, Omniture
Everybody’s chasing that leading edge, but there’s an awful lot of opportunity in the trailing edge.
- Matt Rutledge, Woot!
You’re bound to upset, offend, or annoy people when you’re not adding heavy layers of social sugarcoating.
- DHH, 37signals
Let me make this crystal clear: once you sell me something, I will do whatever I want with it. Period. I’ll take it apart, I’ll patch it, I’ll make it do things you never imagined, and I’ll tell everyone who will listen exactly how to do the same. It’s mine, and every device you’ve purchased is yours too; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Do or do not. There is no try.
I’ll be adding to this list as time goes on and would love your feedback!