Quotes from the Most Powerful People in Tech

by HSG on Jan 26, 2018 in

People are optimistic about problem solving, but in most cases this is easier said than done. How do you do it?

In Adobe’s 2016 global study on creativity in business, 96% of people identified creativity as essential to their success, both in terms of their income and the value they bring to the world. Moreover, 78% wished they were capable of thinking differently, believing that they would progress through their careers more quickly if they did.

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According to Malcom Gladwell, the world's most successful people have one thing in common: they think differently from most everyone else.  In his book, How Successful People Think, Malcom opens with the following:        “Good thinkers are always in demand.  A person who knows how may always have a job, but the person who knows why will always be his boss. Good thinkers solve problems, they never lack ideas that can build an organization, and they always have hope for a better future”
Too often we attribute creative and “different” thinking to natural, innate characteristics that belong only to the lucky. The truth is that you can study how ridiculously successful people think and incorporate their approach into your world.


Snippets and Quotes from Tech Innovators.

Andrew Ng (Founder of Coursera and Deeplearning.ai)

- People often ask me, “Andrew, what industries do you think AI will transform?” I usually answer that it might be easier to think about what industries AI will not transform. To be honest, I struggle to think of one. 

- "The success, or failure, of a CEO to implement AI throughout the organization will depend on them hiring a leader to build an organization to do this".

- "AI technology is exciting, but it is also immature. At the risk of sounding sacrilegious, AI technology in isolation is not useful. It needs a lot of customization to figure out exactly how it fits into your business concept."        

- "AI today requires a team that understands the business context and has cross-functional knowledge of things like how to fit AI into your hospital or how to use AI in your logistics network. Without cross-functional knowledge of how your business runs, it is difficult to customize AI appropriately to drive specific business results." 


 Jeff Bezos (CEO, Amazon.com)

- "What's dangerous is not to evolve."               

- "If you don't understand the details of your business you are going to fail."

- "If you only do things where you know the answer in advance, your company goes away."               

Jack Ma (Founder and CEO, Alibaba)

- "You should learn from your competitor, but never copy. Copy and you die." 

- "What I’ve learned from those dark times is that you've got to make your team have value, innovation, and vision.”   


 Jack Dorsey (Cofounder and CEO, Twitter and Square) 

"I think what’s really important to me right now in my own leadership is understanding how to build a great team dynamic instead of just hiring a bunch of individuals and heroes."     

- "To clear my head, I wake up super-early. I exercise, and have been fascinated by the Golden State Warriors. And I learn a lot from them and their team dynamic."    


 Bill Gates

- "I believe that if you show people the problems and you show them the solutions they will be moved to act."              

- "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose."    

- "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of earning."           

- "In this business, by the time you realize you're in trouble, it's too late to save yourself. Unless you're running scared all the time, you're gone." 


 Reed Hastings (Cofounder and CEO, Netflix)

- "I take pride in making as few decisions as possible, as opposed to making as many as possible,"            

- "It's creating a sense [in your employees] that 'If I want to make a difference, I can make a difference.'" Freedom is only one part of the Netflix culture; the other is responsibility.             

- "Adequate performance gets a generous severance package,"  

- At Netflix, we’re significantly better [than we were] because we have more brains thinking about the problem. If you have 1,000 really thoughtful people thinking about how to improve, you’ll make a lot more progress than if you have 100.   

- "People tend to think that they need a process for everything, and once in a while you hear 'We're going to dummy-proof it.' But if you dummy-proof the process, you only get dummies to work there,'" 

 Reid Hoffman (Cofounder and chairman, LinkedIn)

-“I knew that my best capabilities are around being a strategist, a product-strategy person, a business-strategy person, a collaborator, and not, per se, in the CEO job. Because the CEO job as you scale becomes very much a "How do you build a high-performance organization?" — which I appreciate, which I have learned a great deal of things about, but which is not the kind of core thing that I focus on.”  

 Travis Kalanick (Founder and CEO, Uber)

- "For Uber 2.0 to succeed there is nothing more important than dedicating my time to building out the leadership team. But if we are going to work on Uber 2.0, I also need to work on Travis 2.0 to become the leader that this company needs and that you deserve."   

  - "I'm a small time entrepreneur really at heart, scrappy entrepreneur. The holy grail of scaling a business is finding a way for it to feel small even as it gets big, and the reason why is because if you can feel small as you get big, then you are able to innovate quickly but at scale, and that is the holy grail, and that is essentially what we've really tried to build our culture around is how to be, how to feel entrepreneurial, how to feel small while we grow."             


–Ma Huateng   (Founder and CEO, Tencent Holdings)

"Your rivals will always want to compete; they do not want you to be powerful. So they exaggerate every move you make."   

Ginni Rometty (Chairman and CEO, IBM)

- “Look, we really think this is about man and machine, not man vs. machine. This is an era—really, an era that will play out for decades in front of us.”

- "Doctors don’t want black-and-white answers, nor does any profession. If you’re a professional, my guess is when you interact with AI, you don’t want it to say, “Here is an answer.”              

- What a doctor wants is, “OK, give me the possible answers. Tell my why you believe it. Can I see the research, the evidence, the ‘percent confident’? What more would you like to know?”     


- "We’re a 106-year-old technology company, and we’re the only tech company that has moved from one era to the next. When you’re in tech, you have to transform."

- "My biggest obstacles were self-imposed, which I think is true for many women. I often tell the story of how, years ago, my boss offered me a big promotion. I told him I wasn’t sure I was ready—that I needed two more years to prepare and become more confident. Later I spoke to my husband, who asked, “Do you think a man would have responded that way?” And I said, “No, he wouldn’t have.” The next day I accepted the job."                  

- "You have to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, or you won’t grow. I often ask people, “When do you feel you grew the most during your career?” They typically mention a time when they took a risk. Growth and comfort never coexist. If you’re not nervous about something, it means you’re not learning."      


–Yang Jie  (CEO, Baidu)

- “In regard to those (startups) you think are nothing and haven’t been paying attention to, your judgment might be wrong,” Mr. Li said. “They could be growing bigger and getting closer to your core business — and they might eventually subvert you.” 


 Satya Nadella  (CEO, Microsoft)

- “Technological displacement is a real issue. But it’s not going to be a binary transition. There will be new kinds of jobs. We’ll need education and re-skilling. Over a lifetime, if we have to find different types of employment, we’ll need continuous learning. Without the technological breakthroughs, we’re not going to have enough growth, and that’s not going to be good for anybody. So let’s optimize for growth and at the same time solve for the displacement and bring meaningful cohesion to society so that people feel they’re able to participate and contribute."    


Larry Ellison (Founder and executive chairman, Oracle)       

“Great achievers are driven, not so much by the pursuit of success, but by the fear of failure.”   


Tim Cook, (CEO Apple)       

"I think if you had to make a choice, it's more important to learn coding than a foreign language. I know people who disagree with me on that. But coding is a global language; it's the way you can converse with 7 billion people."


 Larry Page

- “Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future.”           

- “Have a healthy disregard for the impossible.”         

- “Small groups of people can have a really huge impact.”                

- “Anything you can imagine probably is doable, you just have to imagine it and work on it.”                      


Mark Zuckerberg (Founder and CEO, Facebook)

- “I think a simple rule of business is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress.”              

- “In terms of doing work and in terms of learning and evolving as a person, you just grow more when you get more people’s perspectives, I really try and live the mission of the company and keep everything else in my life extremely simple.”



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