101 Inspirational Startup quotes!

by Wendy Soon on January 27, 2014

iStock_000024314563Small_startupbanner2Those who have been in a startup, or who are working in a startup, will understand the many obstacles and low points that almost every startup would face. Many a times, you want to give up. It’s not an easy journey, it’s like doing a phD — or maybe even tougher. So how do you overcome the low points each time? Here are some motivational startup quotes from successful people who have been in that position, to keep you going, when the going gets tough.


  1. “Always choose your investors based on who you want to work with, be friends with, and get advice from. Never, ever, choose your investors based on valuation.” Jason Goldberg, American film and television producer

  2. “Be undeniably good. No marketing effort or social media buzzword can be a substitute for that” Anthony Volodkin, Hype Machine founder

  3. “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

  4. “Don’t worry about people stealing your design work. Worry about the day they stop” Jeffrey Zeldman, A List Apart Publisher

  5. “Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you.” Tony Hsieh, CEO Zappos

  6. “The value of an idea lies in the using of it” Thomas Edison, General Electric Co-founder

  7. “Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.” Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder

  8. “The most dangerous poison is the feeling of achievement. The antidote is to every evening think what can be done better tomorrow” Ingvar Kamprad, Founder of IKEA

  9. “Always look for the fool in the deal. If you don’t find one, it’s you.” Mark Cuban, AXS TV chairman and entrepreneur

  10. “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen” Scott Belsky, Behance co-founder

  11. “Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once” Drew Houston, American internet entrepreneur who is best known for being the founder and CEO of Dropbox

  12. “Fail often so you can succeed sooner” Tom Kelley, Ideo partner

  13. “Get big quietly, so you don’t tip off potential competitors” Chris Dixon, Andreesen Horowitz investor

  14. “It’s hard to do a really good job on anything you don’t think about in the shower” Paul Graham, YCombinator co-founder

  15. “Entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and a want to create” David Karp, Tumblr founder and CEO

  16. “Best startups generally come from somebody needing to scratch an itch” Michael Arrington, TechCrunch founder and co-editor

  17. “I doubt I’ll ever go back to corporate work. Once you see the light, there is no turning back” Magnus Jepson, WooThemes co-founder

  18. “The only thing worse than starting something and failing… is not starting something” Seth Godin, Squidoo founder, author and blogger

  19. “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

  20. “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door” Milton Berle,  comedian and actor

  21. “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently” Henry Ford, American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company

  22. “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” Ashton Kutcher, Actor and investor

  23. “The secret to successful hiring is this: look for the people who want to change the world” Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO

  24. “Ideas are commodity. Execution of them is not.” Michael Dell, Dell chairman and CEO

  25. “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.”  Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder

  26. “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

  27. “In the end, a vision without the ability to execute it is probably a hallucination” Steve Case, AOL co-founder

  28. “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

  29. “Always deliver more than expected.” Larry Page, Google co-founder

  30. “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late” Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder

  31. “When you find an idea that you just can’t stop thinking about, that’s probably a good one to pursue” Josh James, Omniture CEO and co-founder

  32. “I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars — I look for 1-foot bars that I can step over” Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO

  33. “Embrace what you don’t know, especially in the beginning, because what you don’t know can become your greatest asset. It ensures that you will absolutely be doing things different from everybody else” Sara Blakely, SPANX founder

  34. “I never took a day off in my twenties. Not one” Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder

  35. “Diligence is the mother of good luck” Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the United States

  36. “If you define yourself by how you differ from the competition, you’re probably in trouble” Omar Hamoui, AdMob co-founder

  37. “You jump off a cliff and you assemble an airplane on the way down” Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder

  38. “A person who is quietly confident makes the best leader” Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures co-founder

  39. “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over” Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder

  40. “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

  41. “You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.”  George Lorimer, journalist and author

  42. “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning” Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder

  43. “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance” Steve Jobs, American entrepreneur, marketer, and inventor, who was the co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc

  44. “Wonder what your customer really wants? Ask. Don’t tell” Lisa Stone, BlogHer co-founder and CEO

  45. “Behold the turtle, he makes progress only when he sticks his neck out” Bruce Levin

  46. “Your reputation is more important than your paycheck, and your integrity is worth more than your career.” Ryan Freitas, About.me co-founder

  47. “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Peter Drucker, Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author

  48. “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere” Albert Einstein, German-born theoretical physicist

  49. “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody” Bill Cosby, American comedian, actor, author, television producer, educator, musician and activist

  50. “To win without risk is to triumph without glory” Corneille

  51. “The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake- you can’t learn anything from being perfect.” Adam Osborne,  Thailand-born British-American author, book and software publisher, computer designer and entrepreneur

  52. “To succeed… You need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you.” Tony Dorsett, Former NFL player

  53. “To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.” Thomas Watson, Sr., Former chairman and CEO of International Business Machines

  54. “The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.” Nolan Bushnell, American engineer and entrepreneur who founded both Atari, Inc. and the Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza-Time Theaters chain

  55. “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Charles Darwin, English naturalist and geologist

  56. “The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.” Peter F. Drucker, Austrian-born American management consultant, educator, and author

  57. “The golden rule for every business man is this: “Put yourself in your customer’s place.” Orison Swett Marden, Successful hotel owner and spiritual author in the New Thought Movement

  58. “You’ve got to say, I think that if I keep working at this and want it badly enough I can have it. It’s called perseverance.” Lee Iacocca, Businessman, 18th-greatest American CEO of all time

  59. “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Bill Gates, American business magnate, investor, programmer, inventor and philanthropist, co-founder Microsoft

  60. “If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.” Donald Trump, American business magnate, investor, television personality and author. He is the chairman and president of The Trump Organization and the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts

  61. “The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.” Debbi Fields,  founder and current spokesperson of Mrs. Fields Bakeries

  62. “An invention that is quickly accepted will turn out to be a rather trivial alteration of something that has already existed.”  Edwin Land, Polaroid co-founder

  63. “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, American Internet entrepreneur and investor. He is a technology entrepreneur who has played a key role in the growth of e-commerce as the founder and CEO of Amazon.com

  64. “Theory is splendid but until put into practice, it is valueless.”  James Cash Penney, J.C. Penney founder

  65. “You don’t need to have a 100-person company to develop that idea.” Larry Page, Google co-founder

  66. “It’s better to make a few people really happy than to make a lot of people semi-happy.” Paul Graham, YCombinator co-founder

  67. “Turn a perceived risk into an asset.” Aaron Patzer, Founder, Mint

  68. “Don’t find fault, find a remedy. Anybody can complain.” Henry Ford, American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company

  69. “I try not to make any decisions that I’m not excited about.” Jake Nickell, Co-founder, Threadless

  70. “Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.”  Jack Dorsey, American web developer and businessman widely known as a co-founder and co-creator of Twitter, and as the founder and CEO of Square

  71. “Make your team feel respected, empowered, and genuinely excited about the company’s mission.” Tim Westergren, Founder, Pandora

  72. “We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes – understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” Arianna Huffington, Co-founder, The Huffington Post

  73. “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas Edison, American inventor and businessman

  74. “Learn by doing. Theory is nice, but nothing replaces actual experience.” Tony Hsieh, American internet entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He is the CEO of the online shoe and clothing shop Zappos.com

  75. “We try to solve very complicated problems without letting people know how complicated the problem was.” Jonathan Ive, Senior Vice President, Apple

  76. “Honesty is the best policy.” Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father, Entrepreneur

  77. “If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.” Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father, Entrepreneur

  78. “Energy and persistence conquer all things.” Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father, Entrepreneur

  79. “One today is worth two tomorrows.” Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father, Entrepreneur

  80. “Well done is better than well said.” Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father, Entrepreneur

  81. “The one thing Startups need is Focus” Don Norman, Author, Design of Everyday Things

  82. “The second most important thing for entrepreneurs is to build what people need” Don Norman, Author, Design of Everyday Things

  83. “Its better to be late than to be early to Market. Late you can catchup.” Don Norman, Author, Design of Everyday Things

  84. “User experience is the whole experience, the closest i can think of is a trip to disneyland” Don Norman, Author, Design of Everyday Things

  85. “The day you start your company you are over your budget and behind schedule – Normans Law” Don Norman, Author, Design of Everyday Things

  86. “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple

  87. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple

  88. “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple

  89. “Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it’s really how it works” Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple

  90. “Innovation is not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.” Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple

  91. “Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something.” Thomas A. Edison, American inventor and businessman

  92. “There is no substitute for hard work.” Thomas A. Edison, American inventor and businessman

  93. “Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.” Thomas A. Edison, American inventor and businessman

  94. “There’s a way to do it better – find it.” Thomas A. Edison, American inventor and businessman

  95. “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” Henry Ford, American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company

  96. “Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” Henry Ford, American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company

  97. “Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.” Henry Ford, American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company

  98. “There is no man living that can not do more than he thinks he can.” Henry Ford, American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company

  99. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Henry Ford, American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company

  100. “Being too early is worse than being too late for a new product” Don Norman, Author, Design of Everyday Things

  101. “Make the world a better place one green dot at a time” Don Norman, Author, Design of Everyday Things

Now that you’re done reading, GET BACK TO WORK ON YOUR STARTUP!!! 🙂


Swee February 4, 2014 at 10:17 am

Hi Wendy, great list you’ve compiled. Spotted a few duplicates:
#25 and #63 Jeff Bezos
#1 and #62 Jason Goldberg
#11 and #64 Drew Houston

#70 – Square, missing the ‘e’ at the end

Swee Hoe

Wendy Soon February 6, 2014 at 4:53 am

Hi Swee Hoe,

Thanks for pointing that out! My sleepy eyes must have missed those duplicates… I’ve changed them so we have 101 UNIQUE quotes! 😀

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