20 Motivational Quotes from Technology Leaders

5 Min Read
There’s no one better to learn from than leaders who have "been there and done that" — and these 20 motivational quotes fit the bill.

The business world can be challenging, fast-moving, and demotivating. And it’s all too common for entrepreneurs to feel burned out and stressed because of it. In fact, 25% of entrepreneurs report being moderately burned out, and burnout can lead to less-than-optimal business results. When you’re feeling particularly uninspired, take the time to figure out what gets you excited and inspired again. Maybe it’s seeing a motivational speaker. Maybe it’s taking a short vacation. Or maybe you need to scroll through some motivational quotes from your favorite technology leaders. 

What do business leaders say to help keep themselves motivated?


“You can’t have everything you want, but you can have the things that really matter to you.”
Marissa Mayer, cofounder of Lumi Labs and former president and CEO of Yahoo!

“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat.”
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and CEO of Leanin.org

“If you don’t innovate fast, disrupt your industry, disrupt yourself, you’ll be left behind.”
John Chambers, chairman emeritus of Cisco and CEO of JC2 Ventures

“We want to build technology that everybody loves using, and that affects everyone. We want to create beautiful, intuitive services and technologies that are so incredibly useful that people use them twice a day. Like they use a toothbrush. There aren’t that many things people use twice a day.”
Larry Page, co-founder of Google

Focus on People

“Customers should be number one, employees number two, and then only your shareholders come at number three.”
Jack Ma, co-founder and former executive chair of Alibaba Group

“Transparency within your organization is the difference between having a business that’s simply running, and having one that’s moving in one direction.”
Michael Riedijk, CEO of PageFreezer Software and director of West Coast Ventures and Lucent BioSciences

“If you’re competitor focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering.”
Jeff Bezos, founder, CEO, and president of Amazon

“It’s very difficult to design something for someone if you have no empathy.”
Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Flickr and Slack


“Engineering is the closest thing to magic that exists in the world.”
Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, co-founder of Tesla, and co-founder of PayPal 

“Our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation.”
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft

“For me, it matters that we drive technology as an equalizing force, as an enabler for everyone around the world.”
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google

“Stone Age. Bronze Age. Iron Age. We define entire epics of humanity by the technology they use.”
Reed Hastings, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Netflix

Personal Development

“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.”
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple

“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.”
Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Technologies

“Desperation sometimes drives innovation.”
Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber

Trends and Tips

“Make every detail perfect and limit the number of details to perfect.”
Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter

“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.”
Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal and chairman of Symantec

“Growth and comfort do not coexist.”
Ginni Rometty, president, chair and CEO of IBM

“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.”
Pierre Nanterme, former chairman and CEO of Accenture

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Thomas Edison, inventor 

Beat the business blues by keeping these motivational quotes close by.

There’s no one better to learn from than leaders who have been there and done that. Motivational quotes mean more when the source is someone who’s gone through the frustrations we experience and come out the other side.

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Becca Williams is a writer, editor, and small business owner. She writes a column for Smallbiztechnology.com and many more major media outlets.