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Pierre Omidyar Quotes

Pierre Morad Omidyar

Pierre Omidyar quotes: eBay entrepreneur talks shop, giving back, personal wealth, and more.

“You’re able to accomplish anything you set out to accomplish.”

“I say that you should pursue your passion.  If you’re passionate about something and you work hard, then I think you’ll be successful.  If you start a business because you think you’re going to make a lot of money at it, then you probably won’t be successful, because that’s the wrong reason to start a business.  You have to really believe in what you’re doing, be passionate enough about it so that you will put in the hours and the hard work that it takes to actually succeed there, and then you’ll be successful.”

“It is not really work, you know, if you are having fun.”

“To truly prepare for the unexpected, you’ve got to position yourself to keep a couple of options open so when the door of opportunity opens, you’re close enough to squeeze through.”

“Translate a vision into reality.”

“Don’t let people who you may respect and who you believe know what they’re talking about, don’t let them tell you it can’t be done because often they will tell you it can’t be done, and it’s just because they don’t have the courage to try.”

“Failures and disappointments should never be stumbling blocks that urge you to quit; rather, they should be stepping stones for you to rise higher.  Learn from them, and keep moving forward.”

“Just go and do it, try it, learn from it.  You’ll fail at some things, that’s a learning experience that you need so that you can take that on to the next experience.”

“Reward experimentation and risk-taking rather than punish failure.”

“‘If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger’ – it’s true.”

“I’ve been asked before, ‘Who are your heroes?’ and these types of questions.  I always find it hard to identify a single person or a single book or this sort of thing.  I’ve always been forward-looking.  I was raised with the notion that you can do pretty much anything you want.  You’re able to accomplish anything you set out to accomplish.  I was given a sense of confidence and I never really felt the need to – or I’ve never had the benefit, I should probably say – of being inspired by outside heroes.”

“When you look at the accomplishments of accomplished people and you say, ‘Boy, that must have been really hard’ – that was probably easy.  And conversely, when you look at something that looks easy, that was probably hard.  And so you’re never going to know which is which until you actually go and do it.”

“There’s something about an entrepreneur that is somewhat sort of anti-establishment, somewhat disrespectful of the previous generation.  And although that can grate people the wrong way a little bit, that’s really an important element, actually.”

“Long-term sustainable change happens if people discover their own power.”

“News organizations that have been around a while have a lot of traditions and ways of doing things that may have served them for many years but perhaps make them less flexible in the digital era.  As an entrepreneur, it just makes more sense to start something new.”

“A lot of people don’t just go ahead and try things.”

“Be an enzyme – a catalyst for change.  As a slogan, I don’t know if that’s ever going to be right up there with ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ or ‘I have a dream’ – but there’s a lot of truth to it.”

“Everyone is born equally capable but lacks equal opportunity.”

“If you give people the opportunity to do the right thing, you’ll rarely be disappointed.”

“We believe people are basically good.  We believe everyone has something to contribute.  We encourage you to treat others the way that you want to be treated.”

“In terms of my belief that one individual can make a difference – that belief comes from my parents.”

“I have always been of the opinion that the right kind of journalism is a critical part of our democracy.”

“Advertisers don’t want to put their ads next to the investigative story; it’s extremely difficult to do that.  And very few people today actually read those serious news stories on the web now.”

“I had always been interested in markets – specifically, the theory that in financial markets, goods will trade at a fair value only when everyone has access to the same information.”

“Companies in Silicon Valley invest a lot in understanding their users and what drives user engagement.”

“We believe that business can be a tool for social good.”

“We need to change the way people think about business – to see that it’s not inherently evil but inherently good.  My sense is that the social sector has acknowledged that, in the end, having a social impact is not the exclusive preserve of nonprofits.  Whether you are nonprofit or for-profit, you need to be scalable, need to be sustainable, need to focus on customers and outcomes.”

“It’s all about connecting people.  That’s the first step.  It’s enhancing the richness of connections between people.  What’s interesting about all these things is that once people are connected, they’re discovering some power.  They’re discovering that they can contribute to a community, which is an empowering experience.  They’re discovering that they can help influence ideas, that they can create powerful tools that other people can build on, that they can create content that other people value.  It’s the same human mechanisms at work across these very different entities.”

“What I’m really focused on is connecting people around shared interests, so together they can make good stuff happen.  I’m more focused on helping people discover their power as individuals, but through those connections with one another.”

“In 1991, I co-founded my first start-up, Ink Development, which made software for an early tablet computer.”

“When I started eBay, it was a hobby, an experiment to see if people could use the internet to be empowered through access to an efficient market.  I actually wasn’t thinking about it in terms of a social impact.”

“I never had it in mind that I would start a company one day and it would really be successful.  I have just been motivated by working on interesting technology.”

“I built a system simple enough to sustain itself.  By building a simple system, with just a few guiding principles, eBay was open to organic growth.”

“eBay’s success as a company depends on the success of the community of sellers.”

“What makes eBay successful – the real value and the real power at eBay – is the community.  It’s the buyers and sellers coming together and forming a marketplace.”

“eBay’s business is based on enabling someone to do business with another person, and to do that, they first have to develop some measure of trust, either in the other person or the system.”

“In the early days of eBay, I articulated for the very first time this belief that people are basically good.”

“If you can get over this initial distrust that people have of strangers, you can do remarkable things.”

“In order to access private capital, you have to provide competitive return on investment.  In order to give competitive returns to investors, you’ve got to operate on a profitable basis and be thinking of yourself as a business.”

“A well-functioning micro finance bank can actually be a profitable business as well.  So it became a perfect proof point that, through business, you can provide an experience that leads to individual self-empowerment.”

“Micro loans enable the poor to lift themselves out of poverty through entrepreneurship.”

“You can invest in companies, you can help grow companies, you can be a venture capitalist – and be a philanthropist at the same time.”

“In the same way that you’re driven in your business to keep innovating – Facebook is a wonderful example of constant innovation – think about doing that in philanthropy.”

“As a philanthropist, I try to help people take ownership.  Everything I’ve done is rooted in the notion that every human being is born equally capable.  What people lack is equal opportunity.”

“Technologists come at a problem from the point of view that the system is working a certain way, and if I engage in that system and actually change the rules of the system, I can make it work a different way.”

“The reason technology exists is to be used for the betterment of mankind.”

“I’m a technologist by origin and by training, but I’m focused on philanthropy.”

“I developed an interest in supporting independent journalists in a way that leverages their work to the greatest extent possible, all in support of the public interest.”

“One of the things I tend to do is open myself up to a variety of voices.  I try to expose myself to the kind of culture shock that occurs when you talk to people who speak a different language.”

“My dad was a physician.  As a kid, I remember driving around with him on weekends so he could do his rounds at the hospital and talk to patients.  We’d spend time in the car talking about what was going on with them, their stories.”

“My parents made me believe I could do anything I wanted to do.  They were really into empowering me.”

“I always kind of just went ahead and tried things.”

“I had the notion that, okay, so now we have all of this wealth, we could buy not only one expensive car, we could buy all of them.  As soon as you realize that you could buy all of them, then none of them are particularly interesting or satisfying.”

“The personal wealth that’s coming is absolutely secondary to the stories that I hear about our users who have given themselves some financial independence as well by starting businesses, and all the lives we’ve touched positively.”

“I do like to fly under the radar.  When I walk around town, the only people I want to recognize me and call me by my name are the folks at Starbucks.”

“I was just pursuing what I enjoyed doing.  I mean, I was pursuing my passion.”

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