The tech industry is booming, leading us all into a new industrial revolution. For those hoping to become the tech industry’s next big success story, there’s no shortage of advice or inspiration to be gleaned from some of the leading tech titans of today.
Here are some of the best quotes from tech CEOs, to guide and inspire you on your own journey.
1. Elon Musk
“Engineering is the closest thing to magic that exists in the world.”
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is one of the most talked-about people in tech today. His success and drive stem from a clear passion for engineering and innovation.
His quote reminds us that, if ever you’re questioning why you want to be in engineering, remember that what you’re doing is nothing short of magical.
2. Stay Inspired: Taking Note from Jeff Bezos
It isn’t just newbies who need inspiration and guidance. Some of the greats still rely on the wisdom they picked up years ago. Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, for example, has been inspired by this Ralph Waldo Emerson quote for years:
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
It’s always a good idea to put a quote that inspires you in a place where you’ll read it every day.
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) May 5, 2018
3. Satya Nadella
“Our industry does not respect tradition – it only respects innovation.”
In his first email as CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella points out something fundamentally important to all industries – while it’s good to learn from the old, you should always be striving to create the new. Don’t let yourself be held back by what has come before you, and forge a new path.
4. Sundar Pichai
“For me, it matters that we drive technology as an equalizing force, as an enabler for everyone around the world.”
Technology has the incredible ability to make us all equal, by offering equal access to information and communication. That’s the message that Alphabet CEO, Sundar Pichai, reinforces.
If you’re feeling lost and are searching for purpose, remember that your work is helping to create a better, more equal world.
5. Reed Hastings
“Stone Age. Bronze Age. Iron Age. We define entire epics of humanity by the technology they use.”
Technology isn’t just about the here and now, it’s also about how our civilization will be remembered in the future. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings points out that working in tech means you’re not just shaping the future – you’re also making history.
The engineers of today are defining our civilization through their innovations.
6. Mark Zuckerberg
“The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
It’s a cliché but it’s true. You miss 100% of the chances you don’t take. That’s what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s advice boils down to.
If you want to succeed, you have to take action, no matter how daunting it might seem. Staying still and not progressing is the surest way to fail.
7. Tim Cook
“Work takes on new meaning when you feel you are pointed in the right direction. Otherwise, it’s just a job, and life is too short for that.”
You have to love what you do. Tim Cook, the current CEO of Apple, knows this for sure. If you’re going to devote your life to something, it has to be something you’re passionate about. Otherwise, it just won’t work out. He also added that “You don’t have to choose between doing good and doing well. It’s a false choice, today more than ever.”
Remember what’s driving you forward, and stay focused on that sense of purpose. It’s what makes the difference between a job and a career.
8. Michael Dell
“You don’t have to be a genius or a visionary or even a college graduate to be successful. You just need a framework and a dream.“
It’s easy to feel the pressure of expectations, but there’s no one true path to success.
That’s what Dell CEO, Michael Dell, stands by.
Whether you graduate with honors or climb your way to the top through other means, there are always opportunities available to you.
Think of what you want from life, and work towards it to the best of your ability. Lateral thinking goes a lot further than many people realize.
9. Dara Khosrowshahi
“Desperation sometimes drives innovation.”
If necessity is the mother of invention, then perhaps desperation is the mother of innovation. At least according to Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi. When thinking of how you’re going to make your mark, always look for what’s lacking and how you could fill the gap.
See a market that’s going unmet? That’s your starting point.
10. Evan Spiegel
“It’s not about working harder; it’s about working the system.”
It’s not always about who puts in the most work, but rather who knows the best areas to focus on. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel reminds us of the need to work smarter, not harder.
Thorough inspection and reflection, we can determine the weakest links of our ideas and processes. Don’t forget to pause, examine, and work more effectively.
11. Jack Dorsey
“Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.”
Simplicity is always key. Perhaps nobody knows this better than Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. When creating something new, scale it down to its most simple iteration.
If something is going to be successful, it needs to be accessible and immediately usable. Restrict yourself to the bare necessities, and make sure all those necessities are as perfect as they can be.
12. Dan Schulman
“One way to understand human progress is to look at how technology has made products and services – once reserved for the elite – progressively more accessible and affordable.”
It’s easy to lose sight of just how much technology has been shaping our society. PayPal CEO, Dan Schulman, rightly points out that one goal of technology is to create a more equal world.
If you’re having difficulty thinking of how to bring something new to the table, consider the things that still divide our society. Think about how technology can break down these divisions and create a more egalitarian world, and what you can do to make that possible.
13. Ginni Rometty
“Growth and comfort do not coexist.”
t’s difficult to accept sometimes, but it’s true. You can’t truly succeed unless you’re pushing yourself outside your comfort zone, and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty agrees.
You’ll never truly know what you’re capable of unless you step outside your routine and explore new perspectives.
14. Brian Krzanich
“I know how tough engineering school can really be, but it’s worth it.”
Life isn’t always fun and games when you’re a student. There’s a lot of pressure to succeed, and you might find yourself questioning your abilities and whether or not this is the path for you. Just remember that you’re not alone.
Someone who can empathize with the struggles of student life is the former Intel CEO, Brian Krzanich, who is currently CEO of CDK Global. Krzanich acknowledges that, difficult as it can be, every second is worth it. Make the most of your experience, and give it your all.
15. Pierre Nanterme
“Do you feel good in your role? If yes, that’s the perfect time for you to experiment with something new, to get out of your comfort zone.”
Another cliché that holds a grain of truth is that you should do something that frightens you every day. Comfort is the enemy of success and innovation, according to former Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme, who died in 2019.
It’s always worthwhile to try something new. Even if it fails, you’ll learn more about yourself and your own creative process than if you hadn’t tried at all.
16. Stewart Butterfield
“It’s very difficult to design something for someone if you have no empathy.”
It’s always important to remember that the best technologies were created to serve people. That’s why understanding people and their needs is key to being successful in tech. Stewart Butterfield, the co-founder of Flikr and Slack, stands by this.
Never lose sight of the humans behind the machines, whether they’re your workers or your target market. Measure your success on how well you can interpret and cater to human needs.
17. Susan Wojcicki, YouTube CEO
“Coding is like writing, and we live in a time of the new industrial revolution. What’s happened is that maybe everybody knows how to use computers, like they know how to read, but they don’t know how to write.”
Never underestimate how valuable your skills are. As YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki, points out – coding is one of the most valuable skills anyone can learn today.
We’re on the cusp of a new era of technology, and creative skills like coding are only set to become more and more important. Value your work, and recognize that you’re building an exciting future.
18. Sir Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Group
“To me, business isn’t about wearing suits or pleasing stockholders. It’s about being true to yourself, your ideas, and focusing on the essentials.”
Staying true to who you are, and committing yourself to those passions will help in your career. Sir Richard Branson’s success as the CEO of Virgin has embodied this quote. Branson’s eclectic tastes and love for breaking the norms has blossomed into a wide range of business over the years in communications, banking, music, travel, aerospace, and transportation. The CEO attributes his success to his authenticity.
19. Tony Hsieh, Former CEO of Zappos
“Businesses often forget about the culture, and ultimately, they suffer for it because you can’t deliver good service from unhappy employees.”
Unfortunately, Tony Hsieh passed away in 2020. However, his impact on the e-commerce world and his employee-centric philosophy will live on. Hiesh encouraged fun and individuality in the workplace. He wanted to create an open, creative environment that facilitated employee’s ambitions and goals. This management style would go on to be adopted by countless start-ups over the years.
20. Josh James, CEO of Domo
“When you find an idea that you just can’t stop thinking about, that’s probably a good one to pursue.”
Do you have an idea that you cannot get out of your head? A concept that could be a viable business idea? Why not go out a pursue it? Some of the world’s greatest ideas have started with just a nagging feeling.
21. David Karp, founder of Tumblr
“An entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and a want to create.”
However, if you want to bring that idea to fruition, you are going to need a vision. Great tech entrepreneurs and CEOs know how to take a concept, get people inspired and bring the idea to market. Thinking of an idea is the first step and is easy. The actual implementation of that idea is hard.