After reading Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston, I dived into an older book by Michael Malone. It has the same concept, i.e. interviews of 16 famous technology entrepreneurs. And it is worth reading.
It is full of great lessons so let me quote a few:
Larry Ellison about uncertainty:
“When everyone said a relational database would never be commercially viable, the reckless guy said “maybe everyone’s wrong – maybe I will take a chance with my career and with my cash.” It’s not a rational process.”
Larry Ellison again about entrepreneurs
: “I saw outside managers brought into a lot of companies who then made things dramatically worse. I think I was the best person for the job, I knew the company better than anyone else. I knew the technology, the products and the markets. My heroes are people who do not follow convention. It’s difficult to innovate when you are like anybody else.
“T. J. Rodgers about Silicon Valley
: “One of the things that Silicon Valley successful is companies think just about wanting to succeed. It is also a meritocracy. What makes us so special and different is no Java code or biotechnology, it is that we’re truly capitalists. About Europe and Japan: We’re moving at light speed relative to the Japanese, who probably still have a committee working on the problem and the Europeans, who are trying to work it out politically
Tom Siebel about luck: “If you look at the core of many success stories, it’s not great visionaries, not great technology, not great entrepreneurs, it’s pretty bright people who found themselves in the right place at the right time and managed not to foul up the opportunity.”
Gordon Moore about Silicon Valley. “I really measure the thing that’s become Silicon Valley from Shockley in 1956. There were earlier technology companies – Hewlett Packard and Varian – but they were more like established companies on the East Coast. Shockley introduced some instability in the system. ”
If you want to learn more, read it…
Next should be “Once you’re lucky…” and “In the Company of Giants“