Commercial Health Warning about Quotes

All of the quotations in this series should come with a commercial health warning. This is that warning.

They’re just soundbites. Mere snippets. It’s ridiculous to think they teach us anything about business, strategy or life.

Think of it this way. I could probably fill this series with 500 quotes from Steve Jobs. He might even have said 100 of them. And if I string those 500 quotes together, they’d take – what – 30 minutes to recite? Do you really think the wisdom and skill of Steve Jobs can be condensed into 30 minutes?

And don’t start thinking that a quotation lays out a course of action. They’re very binary. Do long-term, not short-term. Focus on the customer not the product. Be consistent not spontaneous. But if you looked at the way the people behind these quotes ran their businesses, you’d find that not even they are so black-and-white.

And the remember that half the quotes you see are taken wildly out of context. I mean, God save us from Sun Tsu and the Art Of War, please. Every quote attributed to him is probably a bad translation of something he never even thought, let alone said. And if you think business is really like war, you ought to speak to somebody who served in Kabul.

So why do I do these quotations then? Simple. Because people like them. And they’re fun. So if you want to sprinkle the JPG versions in one of your presentations or documents, go for it. You can download JPGs from our website. Just search for the name of the speaker and the relevant page will pop up.