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Dustin Moskovitz Quotes

Dustin Aaron Moskovitz

Dustin Moskovitz quotes: the billionaire Facebook co-founder talks tech, philanthropy, thinking big, and more.

“The only reason you should be an entrepreneur is because that’s the only way the idea will come into the world.”

“Success is very much the intersection of luck and hard work.”

“Mindfulness has helped me succeed in almost every dimension of my life.  By stopping regularly to look inward and become aware of my mental state, I stay connected to the source of my actions and thoughts and can guide them with considerably more intention.”

“There are a lot of people building small ideas now.  There’s an idealization of being an entrepreneur, but the most important thing is to have a really great idea.”

“Facebook was a very big mission; it really knocked it out of the universe.  It’s pretty hard to focus on a small idea after that.  You really have to be working on something that you believe will be of similar impact.”

“Why you should start a startup: common reasons are money, flexibility, you be your own boss, it’s glamorous, bigger impact, etc.”

“Fallacies of being a tech entrepreneur: there is an ugly side to being an entrepreneur.  The reality is different than the media says.  It’s very stressful.  Why is it so stressful?  You have a lot of responsibility.  The fear of failure is not just for yourself, but for other people who have devoted the best years of their life and their livelihood to following you.  You are responsible for them, and for the opportunity cost of their time.  You’re always on call.  If something comes up, you are going to deal with it.”

“What is the best reason?  You can’t not do it.  You are super passionate about the idea and you know the problem very well.  Not only is it an incredible idea, but you can build a great product around it that solves the problem for your small set of users and can monopolize a small market.  You need that passion to get through the hard part.  You need it to recruit, because candidates can tell if you don’t have passion.  The world needs it, or perhaps the world needs you to work on something else.  You know you have the right idea and the right passion when you leave work and spend all of your free time working on the project, it’s consuming all of your thoughts, and you feel like you have to beat it out of your chest and give it to the world.”

“One of the purposes of life, and selfishly what makes people happy, is building things that are impactful.”

“Facebook was founded on February 4, 2004.  On February 5, we were feeling pretty confident, even from observing the first few hours of usage.  Students used it like crazy.  They’d sign up then spend the next 3-4 hours on it.  Then we’d go to lecture hall and see it on every computer screen there.”

“When we founded Facebook, we put a lot of hours into it and worked hard every day.  The Social Network painted this picture that we were partying all the time when really we only attended two or three parties during Facebook’s first year.”

“As with Google, Facebook was a place that just concentrated a lot of top talent.  It’s just sort of natural that those people would go on and continue to be successful.”

“It was a precondition to leaving Facebook that I wasn’t going to start something that was just about chasing money.”

“I’m not really sure where it comes from, but every time I meet someone who says, ‘I really want to be an entrepreneur,’ but has no idea what they want to do, I really just think: ‘This person is totally aimless.'”

“I used to be really anxious about money.  I got that from my parents.  I still am, but for entirely different reasons.”

“There’s a lot of complacency in philanthropy.  People figure organizations are trying to do good, and that’s enough, even if the results aren’t there.  But that’s wasteful and inefficient.  It crowds out better programs.”

“I’m very fond of this quote from Louis C.K. below and generally view the world through this lens: ‘I never viewed money as being my money.  I always saw it as the money.  It’s a resource.  If it pools up around me then it needs to be flushed back out into the system.'”

“In other words, Cari and I are stewards of this capital.  It’s pooled up around us right now, but it belongs to the world.  We are not perfect in applying this attitude, but we try very hard.  All that said, it turns out to be quite difficult to flush such a large sum back into the world in a way you can feel confident about, which is why we started Good Ventures and work so closely with GiveWell.  But we’re learning more and more every day and accelerating our pace as we do.  We intend not to have much left when we die.”

“I also have many decades to invest my capital before the ‘burn down’ aspect even starts to meaningfully limit the opportunities I can pursue on the business side.”

“But I see no strong reasons to try to set up a system that perpetually invests this capital after I die, so I’d like to be rid of it before then (much like Warren Buffett).  Further, even the money we grant will inevitably be re-invested in the economy somehow; it has not been ‘consumed.’  So, I’m just giving other people a chance to be stewards of the capital in the long run, to re-grant it or invest it as they see fit.”

“I can’t apply $3 billion in capital to the tech industry.  It wouldn’t work.  But in infrastructure and education, I can make a real difference.  I can change someone’s life, for the better, permanently.  If I can improve a kid’s education, I can increase their salary later on and for decades.”

“If you give, give well.  To give money just to give is naive.  Money can be corrupting and to simplify the complexity of its ripple effects leaves the world worse off than it was.”

“For most people, their wealth accrues slowly, and at any given point they say, ‘Okay, I should kick up my standard of living because now I’ve earned slightly more wealth.’  I went from the dorm room to having a billion dollars.”

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