Home » Advice » 13 Witty Quotes for Entrepreneurs from Cartoonist Scott Adams

13 Witty Quotes for Entrepreneurs from Cartoonist Scott Adams

Scott Adams Startup QuotesIf you’ve ever sat in a cubicle or worked for a large corporation, you’ve probably had one of Scott Adams’ comics pinned to your wall. Or maybe dozens of them. Mr. Adams rose to fame in the 1990s as his daily Dilbert comic strip made fun of bad bosses, marketing, and just about everything else ridiculous in corporate life. He could turn a line of corporate speak (like, ‘we must develop knowledge optimization initiatives to leverage our key learnings’) into a punch line that made millions of corporate workers nod their heads in agreement.

Mr. Adams began cartooning at an early age but when his application to art school was rejected, he took a more traditional route into corporate America, earning an MBA along the way. The characters for his comic were inspired by the people he worked with in the corporate world—he got up to draw his comics at four in the morning so he could arrive on time and put in a full day’s work.

He had been drawing his comic for three years before he got his first royalty check—a mere $368.62. But the comic strip quickly gained in popularity and today appears in more than 2000 newspapers, and has spawned nearly 50 books, including five business books outlining Adam’s take on the business world. Our favorites: The Dilbert Principle and Dilbert and The Way of the Weasel.

Adams has famously written, “I try to avoid giving advice.” Despite his hopes, we’ve collected thirteen things he has said or written that owners of startups and small businesses will be inspired by. And if not inspired by, tickled…

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”

“I’m slowly becoming a convert to the principle that you can’t motivate people to do things, you can only de-motivate them. The primary job of the manager is not to empower but to remove obstacles.”

“Technology will definitely solve all our problems, but in the process it will create brand new ones. But that’s okay because the most you can expect from life is to get to solve better and better problems.”

“Life is half delicious yogurt, half crap, and your job is to keep the plastic spoon in the yogurt.”

“The best things in life are silly.”

“Most success springs from an obstacle or failure. I became a cartoonist largely because I failed in my goal of becoming a successful executive.”

“If you spend all your time arguing with people who are nuts, you’ll be exhausted and the nuts will still be nuts.”

“You don’t have to be a ‘person of influence’ to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they’ve taught me.”

“The best plan now is to have as many bosses as possible. I call it boss diversity. If you work for a company and you have one boss and that boss doesn’t like you or wants to get rid of you, you’re in trouble. But if you work for yourself, you have lots of bosses, who are your customers, and if a few of them decide they don’t like you, that’s okay.”

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”

“Hard work is rewarding. Taking credit for other people’s hard work is rewarding and faster.”

“Caring about the quality of your work causes stress. Stress can kill you. Maintain good health by remembering that the stockholders are complete strangers who have never done anything for you.”

“There’s nothing more humbling than seeing your best quotes in a list, and thinking they could have been written by a coma patient with a keyboard and spasms.”

—Scott Adams, Cartoonist and Best-selling Author

Amber Ooley
Amber Ooley
Articles: 440