As Guild is a messaging app focused on professional use, we pick an inspiring business quote to show users if new messages are loading.

Following is a list of my favourite business-related quotes from authors, academics and business leaders through history that we draw from. But we’re always collecting new ones so do tweet us your ideas.

On Strategy

"The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do."
– Michael Porter

"Every corporate over-estimates how fast they can move. Every start up over-estimates how fast it can scale."
– Scott Gallacher

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all."
– Peter Drucker

There are roads which must not be followed, armies which must not be attacked, towns which must not be besieged, positions which must not be contested, commands of the sovereign which must not be obeyed.
– Sun Tzu, The Art of War

"Zero invites imagination, but small numbers invite questions about whether large numbers will ever materialize."
– Eric Ries, The Lean Start Up

"Do what you’re passionate about. If you do this, there will be few people competing or running faster than you."
– Warren Buffet

"A problem well put is half solved."
– John Dewey

It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.
– Howard Ruff

Build your enemy a golden bridge to retreat across."
– Confucius

'Stop doing' lists are more important than 'to do' lists.
– Jim Collins, Good to Great

"We don't have a single big advantage, so we have to weave a rope of many small advantages."
– Jeff Bezos

"You want positive emotional acceleration through every single touch point. Through that you gain the momentum to talk to the consumer."
– Tony Fadell, CEO & Founder, Nest

"I don't believe in the sort of ‘Eureka’ moment idea. I think it's a myth. I'm very suspicious that actually Archimedes had been thinking about that problem for a long time. And it wasn't that suddenly it came to him."
– Sir Tim Berners-Lee

"Strategy is five choices. What is winning; where am I going to play to win; how am I going to win where I play; where are my core competencies that are going to enable me to win where I play; and what management systems and measures are going to help me execute my strategies?"
– AG Laffley, CEO, P&G

We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details. The thing about inventing is you have to be both stubborn and flexible, more or less simultaneously. The hard part is figuring out when to be which!
– Jeff Bezos

"A good plan implemented today is better than a perfect plan implemented tomorrow."
– General George Patton.

Being customer-led is a continual, unforgiving, process of destruction and reinvention that has to be repeated without fail by each managerial generation.
– Tim Mason, former Marketing Director, Tesco

Being customer-led is not the same thing as asking customers what you should do. It might look like being customer-led, but while customers know all about their problems and what they care about, someone else needs to work out what should be done about it, then take it to market, solving their problems in new and better ways.
– Charlie Dawson

On Innovation

"In the new economy, those who live by the sword will be shot by those who don't."
– Gary Hamel, Leading the Revolution

I continue to find my greatest pleasure, and so my reward, in the work that precedes what the world calls success.
– Thomas Edison

It's better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission.
– Anon.

"To achieve great things two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time."
– Leonard Bernstein

When you’re doing well, you tend to be less receptive to change, but in fact you need to be always changing whether you’re doing well or not.”
– Johnny Boden

If everything seems under control you're just not going fast enough.
– Mario Andretti

…innovation as “natural selection for ideas”. There should be no process to implement this evolution. Its defining characteristic is its lack of process.
– Eric Schmidt, How Google Works

On People

Find a co-founder that you really want to impress that is also obviously trying to impress you.”
– Max Levchin, Co-founder, PayPal

The old adage “People are your most important asset” is wrong. People are not your most important asset. The right people are.”
– Jim Collins, Good to Great

"Lose money and I will forgive you, but lose even a shred of reputation and I will be ruthless."
– Warren Buffet

The best predictor of how someone will perform in a job is a work sample test.
– Lazlo Bock, Work Rules

"The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do."
– Sarah Ban Breathnach

I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.
– George Bernard Shaw

"Exit anyone who detracts from the net energy of the group. This was a mistake I made during the first three years at innocent. I had 100% retention and I thought it was somehow wrong or unethical to get rid of people even if they weren't good."
– Richard Reed, Co-Founder, Innocent

"Honey I'd rather have a hole than an asshole."
– Dan Jacobs, Head of Talent, Apple

"If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
– General George S. Patton

We’re in a world now where it’s not enough to be smart. You have to be curious.
– Barry Diller

The only way to deliver to the people who are achieving is to not burden them with the people who are not achieving.
– A Wells Fargo executive in Jim Collins, Good to Great

"Adequate performance gets a generous severance package."
– Netflix HR constitution

"In procedural work, the best are 2X better than the average. In creative/inventive work, the best are 10X better than the average, so we place a huge premium on creative effective teams of the best."
– Netflix HR constitution

Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems.
– Jim Collins, Good to Great

If you make people redundant then do the right thing by them. Not so much for them but for those who are staying.
– Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things

You can’t be a good boss unless you say goodbye to the drongos.
– John Timpson

On Leadership

"It's not complicated; it's just hard."
– Michael Slaby, CTO, Obama's 2008 campaign

Those who turn good into great are motivated by a deep creative urge and an inner compulsion for sheer unadulterated excellence for its own sake. Those who build and perpetuate mediocrity, in contrast, are motivated more by the fear of being left behind.”
– Jim Collins, Good to Great

Repetition doesn't spoil the prayer.
– Eric Schmidt, How Google Works

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
– Maya Angelou

"There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures."
– William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar

"Leaders are problem solvers by talent and temperament, and by choice. For them, the new information environment - undermining old means of control, opening up old closets of secrecy, reducing the relevance of ownership, early arrival, and location - should seem less a litany of problems than an agenda for action."
– Harland Cleveland

"Human nature is to need a map. If you’re brave enough to draw one, people will follow."
– Seth Godin

A good brand is a promise, a great brand is a promise kept.
– Tom Sitati, Director, Brandscape

"Goals have to be bold and daring. They need to cause excitement and just a little fear."
– Sir Terry Leahy, former CEO, Tesco

Accounts tell you about the past; your job is to decide the future.
– John Timpson

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell says that leadership is the ability to get someone to follow you even if only out of curiosity.”
– Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things

In any human interaction, the required amount of communication is inversely proportional to the level of trust.
– Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things

On Entrepreneurship

"Like most overnight successes, it was about twenty years in the making."
– Sam Walton

Never chase the hot thing…you need to position yourself and wait for the wave. And the way you do that is you pick something you’re passionate about. That’s the number one piece of advice that I’d give…
– Jeff Bezos

"I always think it's fascinating; you walk down the high street, open a newspaper - every single business you read about; the companies that shape and manufacture the lives that we live, once upon a time they were all a couple of folks in a room trying to figure out what the logo should look like… It's certainly the only way the world's ever changed."
– Greg Marsh

"A classic entrepreneurial impulse is to hold the idea close to you and not to go tell people because the idea's so special. That's almost always a mistake. It's a mistake because your actual real competitive advantage is not that you have this idea, that may or may not be accurate and you have no idea which it is; your actual competitive advantage is that you're assembling the intelligence around does this idea work, what is the right team, what are the right learnings."
– Reid Hoffman, Founder, LinkedIn

On Design

"1. Insert quarter. 2. Avoid Klingons.
– Instruction manual to original Star Trek arcade game by Atari, as recounted by Steve Jobs to Walter Isaacson

"Do the hard work to make it simple."
– GDS design principles

"Advertising is the price you pay for having an unremarkable product or service."
– Jeff Bezos

Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
– Anon.

90% of everything is crap.
– Sturgeon’s Law

On Culture

You don’t create a culture. Culture happens. It’s the by-product of consistent behaviour…real cultures are built over time. They’re the result of action, reaction, and truth. They are nuanced, beautiful, and authentic. Real culture is patina.
– Jason Fried, Founder & CEO, Basecamp

The culture of any organisation is shaped by the worst behaviour the leader is willing to tolerate.”
– Steve Gruenter and Todd Whitaker

Culture is the sediment of past transactions.
– Patrick Lewis

Our culture has been created by quirky ideas, and I hope to find many more.
– John Timpson

There is little success where there is little laughter.
– Andrew Carnegie

This was one of the most paradoxical findings from ‘Built to Last’ – core values are essential for enduring greatness, but it doesn’t seem to matter what those core values are. The point is not what core values you have, but that you have core values at all, that you preserve them over time.
– Jim Collins, Good to Great

We’re just never satisfied. We can be delighted, but never satisfied.
– Wayne Sanders

On Judgement

Plan as if luck is against you, take action as if luck is with you.
– Anon.

Good judgement comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgement.
– Mulla Nasrudin

If in doubt, do nothing. Don’t think that indecision is a sign of weakness. Doing nothing is very often the right thing to do.
– John Timpson

The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

If the wind will not serve, take to the oars.
– Latin Proverb

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