7 life lessons from successful founders and investors

7 life lessons from successful founders and investors


On Pencil, we have been lucky to interview a number of famous investors and founders over the last couple of months (spanning early investors in Snapchat to co-founders of companies like LinkedIn and Foursquare). Here are our favorite quotes and lessons from each interview!

I list the quote as well as a few actionable steps you can do to immediately take advantage of the advice.

1. “If you already know what you want to be when you “grow up”, Don’t delay, don’t take prepatory steps, just go do it. The best training for anything is doing that thing.”  —  Jeremy Liew, early investor in Snapchat.

  • If you know what you are going to do, list out what doing it means and how you can achieve it. If you want to eventually start a company, that means figuring out what business you want to make
  • Just do it. Don’t make excuses. Do it in any way you can, even if it means doing it on the side first. Where there is a will, there is a way.

2. “If you listen to the folks who tell you ‘you can’t do it’ or ‘it’ll never work’ you’ll never get anything done.”  — Dennis Crowley, Founder of Foursquare

  • Ask yourself: “Do I love what I do?” Whatever you are doing, make sure you LOVE IT SO MUCH that it can push you through the hard times. People will tell you that it won’t work. You only make it through if you love it enough
  • There will always be haters. Ignore the haters if you know they’re wrong.

3. “Whatever you are, care a lot. Concentrate on other people. You’ll be happier and better off.” — Allen Blue, Co-Founder of LinkedIn

  • Ask yourself every time you meet somebody: “How I can provide value to this person?”
  • Spend time with the people you enjoy spending time with. Meet them in person!

4. “You’ll be working 7/24 no matter what, but at least work on solving something that has unlimited upside potential. In the unlikely case that you get things right; you want the prize to be huge!”  Niko Bonatsos, Investor in Snapchat and Yik Yak

  • Are you working on something that will make a difference?
  • What does the outcome look like if you succeed?

5. “Build something — anything — from start to finish. Write a medium post or record a podcast episode about the tech trends you’re seeing on campus.”  — Arielle Zuckerberg, Venture Capitalist at KPCB

  • What are you doing right now?

6. Enjoy the moment. I was telling my friends that today is the greatest day of our life. Especially if you’re in the business of tech, music and film. ” — John Shahidi, CEO of Shots

  • What makes today special for you?
  • The world is quite beautiful. You just have to look for it

7. Stay away from negative people..they have a problem for every solution!” —  Eric Manlunas, Venture Capitalist at Wavemaker Partners

  • Do your friend support you and give you new ideas?
  • Do your mentors give suggestions and guidance rather than just poke holes?

(Article originally appeared on Medium)