Top 10 Quotes from Americas most successful people

Success is fascinating. It is in our nature to look at people who have accomplished great success in life and study how they did it. It is like looking for the holy grail. Forbes Magazine worships these people like they are demigods. I guess to some degree, we all do. What is interesting about this list is that each of us probably has done business with each of the people on this list in some way.

Here are the top 10 quotes from Americas most successful people:
  1. Steve Jobs, Apple - 'Say no to focus groups and market research'
  2. Bill Gates, Microsoft - 'Find very smart people and create small teams'
  3. Fred Smith, FedEx - 'Rely on 'first-level' managers'
  4. Jeff Bezos, Amazon - 'Take regular mini-retreats'
  5. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google - 'Spare no expense on innovation'
  6. Howard Schultz, Starbucks - 'Always challenge the old ways'
  7. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook - 'Embrace paranoia'
  8. John Mackey, Whole Foods - 'Purpose inspires people'
  9. Herb Kelleher, Southwest Airlines - 'Make your customer No 1''
  10. Sam Walton, Wal-Mart - 'Give the people what they want'
What intrigues me about this list is that each of them would tell you about their luckiest moment. In many ways, the cosmos shifted for these people. Jobs had to fail before they brought him back as CEO and Bill Gates gave them bail out money to survive. Bill Gates would have failed if IBM had purchased his company rather than agreed to license his operating system.

Here is another interesting perspective. Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook - all have something in common. They all had a very rich and powerful venture capitalist helping them out: Kliner Perkins Caufield Buyers. Now Groupon, Zynga, and a host of others are flowing in behind them. Check out the current list of KPCB companies

When we sold Wild Opportunities Worldwide (WOW!) it was not because of the products or the people or the revenue. It was because we had a vendor ID at Walmart, Target and other mass retailers.

I did not become a consultant because of a deep seeded burning desire. It was because the venture investing business dried up and a friend of mine asked me to help him on a project. His invitation unearthed my passion to help businesses build and execute strategic plans. It was another friend who I invited to join the firm that turned our consulting business toward the real estate technology industry. Pure happenstance.

And our current venture, - another happenstance. Four MLS clients were all trying to accomplish the same goal: communicate information about real estate technology to agents and brokers. Rather than all 4 companies hiring staff to do the same thing - we started a company and provided the service to them for free. It is sponsored by the technology vendors.

Here is my thesis: If you want to be successful in life - get lucky and have great friends.


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