Startup Quotes

Startups Are Both Awesome and Hard

Dr. Tony Ratliff

50 Top Entrepreneurs Share Their Founding Visions

Tim Finnigan, entrepreneur and founder of the book review site BlockShelf, shared a video on Reddit featuring 50 entrepreneurs telling how they came up with the founding idea for their companies.

It contains great advice from lots of smart people like Mark Cuban, Michael Dell, Drew Houston, Peter Thiel, Jeff Bezos, Gary Vaynerchuk, Paul Graham, Steve Jobs, Brian Chesky and many many more.

Inspiration for the video stemmed from Finnigan’s yearning for easy access to entrepreneurial advice. Below is the video.

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Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program


This semester I’m teaching a class, ENTR 480, at Purdue University in the “Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program”. It’s an awesome program that I wish had been available to me as an undergraduate student. We are bringing in lots of outside speakers to share their wisdom, knowledge and lessons learned in life. I’m amazed at the energy and enthusiasm these students have for Entrepreneurship. There are so many opportunities available today that were not available when I graduated from Purdue, and it’s so much easier to find information and help when starting your startup.

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Startup School – Paul Graham Quotes

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My online class from Stanford, How to Start a Startup, just finished and one of my favorite lectures was that of Paul Graham – the founder of Y Combinator. I really enjoy his online essays and love these quotes from his lecture in class  –you’ll see the common theme.

“Because another of the characteristic mistakes of young founders is to go through the motions of starting a startup. They make up some plausible-sounding idea, raise money at a good valuation, rent a cool office, hire a bunch of people. From the outside that seems like what startups do. But the next step after rent a cool office and hire a bunch of people is: gradually realize how completely fucked they are, because while imitating all the outward forms of a startup they have neglected the one thing that’s actually essential: making something people want.”

“Young founders’ first impulse on starting a startup is to try to figure out the tricks for winning at this new game. Since fundraising appears to be the measure of success for startups, they always want to know what the tricks are for convincing investors. We tell them the best way to convince investors is to make a startup that’s actually doing well, meaning growing fast, and then simply tell investors so. Then they want to know what the tricks are for growing fast. And we have to tell them the best way to do that is simply to make something people want.”

“So this is the third counterintuitive thing to remember about startups: starting a startup is where gaming the system stops working. Gaming the system may continue to work if you go to work for a big company. Depending on how broken the company is, you can succeed by sucking up to the right people, giving the impression of productivity, and so on. [2] But that doesn’t work with startups. There is no boss to trick, only users, and all users care about is whether your product does what they want. Startups are as impersonal as physics. You have to make something people want, and you prosper only to the extent you do.”

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