10 quotes from ancient Greek philosophers useful for startup founders


While ancient Greek philosophy isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of modern tech startups, you’ll find throughout your startup journey that a lot of your struggles are related to your own character and aren’t that unique to the world. modernity. . Some of the best advice on this subject is one that has stood the test of ages.

In this article, we continue our dive into ancient wisdom applied to a modern startup context by examining 10 quotes from four famous ancient Greek philosophers.


1. Plato Quotes

“The worst of all deceit is self-deception.”

Self-deception can be a detrimental pitfall for startup founders. This is why the key to success in early-stage start-ups usually lies in validating your own ideas and assumptions before investing resources in building a real business.

“For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories.”

As mentioned earlier, most of your struggles as a founder would be related to your own character. You should find the strength to push yourself to do the things you know you need to do, despite being outside your comfort zone.

2. Quotations from Aristotle

“We are what we regularly do. So excellence is not an act, but a habit.”

Success does not come from occasional bouts of inspiration and passion. It comes from doing an excellent job day in and day out.

By continuously learning, refining skills and embracing a growth mindset, you can lay a foundation for long-term success. Is your average day something that would lead you to success if you repeated it indefinitely?

“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of mind next to honour.”

Daring to succeed is synonymous with accepting that you could fail and being OK with bearing the consequences. You need the courage to face the never-ending uncertainties of a startup founder’s life on a daily basis.

“Moral excellence comes from habit. We become righteous by doing righteous deeds, temperate by doing moderate deeds, courageous by doing brave deeds.”

While this quote focuses on building character (which totally applies to startups), it’s also how you build skills. You learn to build by building, sell by selling, etc.

3. Heraclitus Quotes

“Character is destiny.”

This is another reiteration of the idea that in order to succeed, you must become a person capable of success. Focusing on personal and professional growth is critical to your long-term success.

“There is nothing permanent except change.”

This is a statement you should celebrate, because as a startup founder, change and volatility are the environment in which you can outsmart the established big players in the market. Without change there would be no startups. To deal successfully with major changes in the world, innovation is required in the first place.

“Big results call for big ambitions.”

Last but not least, you should be comfortable thinking about scale. Startup success is often nothing more than finding small-scale validation for the solution of a problem and scaling it sustainably to a larger market.

4. Socrates Quotes

“The way to get a good reputation is to try to be what you want to seem.”

As projects come and go, a good reputation for competence and integrity is critical to your long-term professional success, and the starting field is no different.

Don’t sell your integrity for short-term profit. You win at the start-up game by being able to play as long as possible, and for that you need the support of people around you.

“An unexamined life is not worth living.”

Finally, it’s worth stopping every now and then to check the compass and evaluate whether you’re on the right track professionally (and personally). Successfully building a business from scratch is an extremely difficult task. Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and that you’re enjoying the journey and not just coveting the destination.