Founders at Work PDF

by Jessica Livingston Loved every second of this book. Each chapter is a different story of a startup founder. I read it slowly so it wouldn't end, and read many chapters twice. My biggest take was that most founders didn't necessarily know what they were doing - or even that they were on to something big. But they were all determined to start a company - that was the only thing they all had in common.

Here are some good quotes from the book:

"I'd say determination is the single most important quality in a startup founder.If the founders I spoke with were superhuman in any way, it was in their perseverance."
— Jessica Livingston (the author)

"I see way too many people give up in the startup world. They just give up too easily. Recruiting is a classic example. I don't even hear the first "no" that somebody says. When they say, "No, I'm not interested", I think "Now it's a real challenge. Now's when the tough part begins." It's hard to identify talent, but great people don't look for jobs, great people are sold on jobs. And if they're sold they're going to say no at first. You have to win them over."
— Joe Kraus (founder of Excite)

"Ultimately, you cannot accomplish something completely on your own.You really need to develop a network of people who win when you win."
— Ray Ozzie (Founder of Groove Networks, Chief Architect of Microsoft)

"My philosophy on these types of companies - consumer-based Internet companies - is that you don't need to worry about the business model initially. If you get users, then everything else follows. Basically any technology can be copied, any concept can be copied. In my opinion, what makes one of these companies valuable is the users. That can't be copied"
— Mark Fletcher (Founder of eGroups and Bloglines)

"I am not a hunter, never have fired a gun, but I'm told that if you want to shoot a duck, you have to shoot where the duck is going to be, not where the duck is. It's the same with introducing technology: if you're only focused on the market today, by the time you introduce your solution to that problem, there'll probably be several others already entrenched."
— Charles Geschke (Founder of Adobe Systems)

"The biggest thrill is frankly not the financial success, it's the ability to have an impact. Because we're both engineers at heart and that's every engineer's dream - to build something that millions of people will use."
— Charles Geschke (Founder of Adobe Systems)

"Most programmers don't think about the user experience. They get a spec book, and they say, "Well, I'm going to meet this spec to make the customer happy." That's not really enough; you have to make something good for the user if you want to call yourself an engineer."
— Philip Greenspun (Founder of ArsDigita)

"People don't like to write. It's hard. The people who were really good software engineers were usually great writers; they had tremendous ability to organize their thoughts and communicate. The people who were sort of average-quality programmers and had trouble thinking about the larger picture were the ones who couldn't write."
— Philip Greenspun (Founder of ArsDigita)

"Things never work out right the first time. You've always got to do it two or three times to get it right. And things always go wrong. So persistence is the key to success.I had seen that in my career. I had seen that in computer design projects. I had seen that through my whole life. And so that word is the best single advice I can give to entrepreneurs. The key to success, if you had to sum it up in one, is persistence."
— Ron Gruner (Founder of Alliant Computer Systems and

"I'd just keep thinking, keep trying to find the language and find new employees, trying to meet the VC who would understand my vision and back me. I met with 43 VCs."
— James Currier (Founder of

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