21. June 2016 · Comments Off on The Monk and the Riddle by Randy Komisar · Categories: Uncategorized


These are my favorite quotes from Randy Komisar’s The Monk and the Riddle

Page 29: “VCs (Venture Capitalists) have no percentage in telling you “no” outright. A “no” from a venture capitalist is as rare as the “no” of a Japanese salaryman. Unless you mug the receptionist on the way out or spray graffiti all over their German sedans, VCs seldom turn you down outright.”

Page 30: “VCs, I explained, want to know three basic things: Is it a big market? Can your product or service win over and defend a large share of that market? Can your team do the job?”

Page 35: “Even when large companies try to set up small, intrapreneurial units, they are hard-pressed to find people inside the company who will drive them with the same fervor and penny-pinching zeal that desperation demands of independent startups. The accoutrements of established businesses- the company cafeteria, the clerical support, the illusory job security, the pension plans, and everything else a large organization can provide-are inconsistent with Valley startup mentality.”

Page 38: “VCs invest first and foremost, I explained in people. The team would have to be intelligent and tireless. They would need to be highly skilled in their functional areas, though not necessarily highly experienced. Moreover, they would need to be flexible and capable of learning quickly.”

Page 47: “Good entrepreneurs are passionate visionaries, usually with one or more exceptional talents, but rarely have they actually built a company from scratch.”

Page 52: “ …that sense of momentum-in terms of market acceptance, financing opportunities, partnership interest, and the ability to attract talent- is crucial in the Valley.”

Page 53: “You have to be able to survive mistakes in order to learn, and you have to learn in order to create sustainable success.”

Page 55: “It comes down to my realization over the years that business isn’t primarily a financial institution. It’s a creative institution. Like painting and sculpting, business can be a venue for personal expression and artistry, at its heart more like a canvas than a spreadsheet.”

Page 65:  On the Deferred Life Plan

“For the promise of full coverage under the plan, you must divide your life into two distinct parts: Step one: Do what you have to do. Then eventually- Step two: Do what you want to do.”

Page 83: “Passion pulls you toward something that you cannot resist. Drive pushes you toward something you feel compelled or obligated to do. If you know nothing about yourself, you can’t tell the difference. Once you gain a modicum of self-knowledge, you can express your passion. But it isn’t just the desire to achieve some goal or payoff, and it’s not about quotas or bonuses or cashing out. It’s not about jumping through someone else’s hoops. That’s drive.”

Page  107: “The chance to work on a big idea is a powerful reason for people to be passionate and committed. The big idea is the glue that connects with their passion and binds them to the mission of an organization. For people to be great, to accomplish the impossible, they need inspiration more than financial incentive.”

Page 110: “Business conditions are forever changing. You need to reconsider your strategies and business models constantly and adjust them where necessary. But the big idea that your company pursues is the touchstone for these refinements. Ditching the big idea in order to deal with business exigencies leaves you without a compass. I always advise companies to define their business in terms of where it’s going, what it’s becoming, not simply where it is. Set the compass, then work hard to clear a path, knowing that you may meander as you stumble upon obstacles but will always keep heading toward the same coordinates.”

Page 122: “But first and foremost, to be successful, business is about people.”

Page 128: “Sever the chain of values between leadership and the people translating strategy into products and services for your customers, and you will destroy your foundation for long term success. The culture you create and principles you express are the only connection you will have with each other and your many constituencies.”

Page 135: “Management and leadership are related but not identical. Management is a methodical process; its purpose is to produce the desired results on time and on budget. It compliments and supports but cannot do without leadership, in which character and vision combine to empower someone to venture into uncertainty. Leaders must suspend the disbelief of their constituents and move ahead even with very incomplete information.”

Page 150: “Silicon Valley does not punish business failure. It punishes stupidity, laziness, and dishonesty. Failure is inevitable if you are trying to invent the future. The Valley forgives business failures that arise from natural causes and acts of God: changes, for example, in the market, competition, or technology.”

Page 153: “That should be your primary measure of success- excellence- not simply the spoils that come with good fortune. You don’t want to entrust your satisfaction and sense of fulfillment to circumstances outside your control. Instead, base them on the quality of what you do and who you are, not the success of your business per se.”

Page 155: “Only the Whole Life Plan leads to personal success. It has the greatest chance of providing satisfaction and contentment that one can take to the grave, tomorrow. In the Deferred Life Plan there will always be another prize to covet, another distraction, a new hunger to sate. You will forever come up short.”

Page 156: “Work hard, work passionately, but apply your most precious asset-time- to what is most meaningful to you.”

Page 158: “Time is the only resource that matters.”

Comments closed.