Silicon Valley has become an almost mythological place where the world’s brightest risk-takers of the Internet Age have made billions of dollars on hugely popular websites and software and computing technology. It is a place where America’s most fundamental designs for freedom and the pursuit of happiness are carried out every day and where the American dream of being a self-made success is doggedly pursued.
Below is an inspiring list of quotes that speak to the spirit of Silicon Valley and to the mindset of the entrepreneurs who said them.
1. Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me… Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful – that’s what matters to me.
Steve Jobs – iconic founder of Apple Inc. and inventor of some of the world’s most widely used and memorable technology such as the Macintosh, iMac, iTunes, iPod, and iPad. After leaving Apple in 1985 Jobs went on to found NeXT, and then Pixar which was purchased by Disney in 2006. Jobs returned to Apple in 1996 and brought the company from the brink of bankruptcy to one of the most recognizable and most profitable companies in the world.
2. Obviously everyone wants to be successful, but I want to be looked back on as being very innovative, very trusted and ethical and ultimately making a big difference in the world.
Sergey Brin – co-founded Google with Larry Page, whom he met at Stanford University. At the age of six, Brin immigrated with his family to the US from the Soviet Union. He studied mathematics at the University of Maryland and then pursued a Phd at Stanford, where he and Page quit their studies to work on Google full-time. The Google internet search engine has gone on to become one of the world’s mostly widely used products and Google is one of the world’s most successful companies.
3. When you innovate, you’ve got to be prepared for everyone telling you you’re nuts.
Larry Ellison – one of Silicon Valley’s most recognizable figures, Ellison is the somewhat controversial founder of Oracle Corp, a leading enterprise software company. Ellison has an estimated fortune of over $40 billion and is known for his exotic sports cars, competitive yachting, piloting jets, and purchasing as much Malibu real estate as he can.
4. Entrepreneurs are like visionaries. One of the ways they run forward is by viewing the thing they’re doing as something that’s going to be the whole world.
Reid Hoffman – a co-founder of LinkedIn, entrepreneur, and prominent venture capitalist. Hoffman first studied Symbolic Systems and Cognitive Science at Stanford, then read philosophy as a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University. Early in his career, Hoffman worked at Apple and Fujitsu, and then co-founded SocialNet.com, became COO at PayPal, co-founded Linkedin, and is now a partner at the venture capital firm Greylock Partners. Hoffman has said that he’s mostly interested in making a positive impact on the world on a large scale.
5. The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.
Mark Zuckerberg – a billionaire by the age of 23, Zuckerberg is the founder of Facebook.com, the world’s second most visited website behind only Google.com and in front of YouTube.com. Zuckerberg excelled in many of his studies in grade school and took an early interest in computer programming. During his undergraduate studies at Harvard, he and fellow classmates created Facebook as a social network for college students. It quickly gained in popularity and now has hundreds of millions of regular users.
6. If you’re unhappy, you should change what you’re doing.
Marc Andreessen – co-author of Mosaic, the first widely used web browser, one of the founders of Netscape Communications Corp, and a co-founder and general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent venture capital firms. Andreessen is also on the boards of such prominent Silicon Valley companies as Facebook, eBay, and HP.The Mosaic browser was renamed Netscape Navigator and was the most popular web-browser through the 90’s until Internet Explorer overtook it. Andreessen’s involvement in pioneering the broad use of the internet has made him a multi-millionaire and one of the most recognized names in Silicon Valley.
7. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.
Elon Musk – an innovator hardly like any other, Musk is the founder or co-founder of several very successful companies. Here’s a list of his efforts: Zip2 – sold for $307 million to Compaq; PayPal -sold to eBay for $1.5 billion; SpaceX whose Falcon 9 rocket replaced NASA’s Space Shuttle in 2011 for flights to the International Space Station; Tesla Motors which aims to be the world’s largest producer of electric cars; and Solar City which is the largest provider of solar power systems in the US.
8. Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.
Jack Dorsey – co-founder of Twitter and Square, a platform that allows credit and debit payments using devices like the iPhone and Android. A programmer from an early age, Dorsey created a services dispatching software at the age of thirteen. He’s expressed interest in one day becoming the mayor of New York City.
9. In fact, technology has been the story of human progress from as long back as we know. In 100 years people will look back on now and say, ‘That was the Internet Age.’ And computers will be seen as a mere ingredient to the Internet Age.
Reed Hastings - mostly known as the founder of NetFlix, but also founded Pure Software, which grew quickly, was taken public, and was merged with Atria Software and later acquired by Rational Software. Hastings has insisted on a unique corporate culture at NetFlix where pay is often higher than average, vacation days and time off are up to the employees themselves, and where underperforming employees are given a large severance package when they are asked to leave.
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