"Many record companies offered us deals. They came from everywhere, but we decided to wait—partly because we didn’t want to lose control of what we had created. We turned down many record companies. We weren’t interested in the money, so we turned down labels that were looking for more control than we were willing to give up. In reality, we’re more like partners with Virgin.
“We’ve got much more control than money. You can’t get everything. We live in a society where money is what people want, so they can’t get the control. We chose. Control is freedom. People say we’re control freaks, but control is controlling your destiny without controlling other people. We’re not trying to manipulate other people, just controlling what we do ourselves. Controlling what we do is being free. People should stop thinking that an artist that controls what he does is a bad thing. A lot of artists today are just victims, not having control, and they’re not free. And that’s pathetic.”
"Take the Catholic idea — and I speak as a convinced atheist — the Catholic idea of original sin, fascinating idea, beautiful idea, starts from the notion that the human animal is crooked. We are slightly wrong and imperfectable. The only perfectable creature out there is divine. That is the source of perfection. The human animal is a mixture of the divine and the not divine. And so, in other words, perfectability is not in our nature and we shouldn’t aim for it.
Now this could seem a bit dark and pessimistic, but imagine trying to have a relationship with someone who thinks that perfectability is within their grasp, someone young, good-looking…very optimistic, who thinks I’m going to get together with another similarly perfect being and we can have a fantastic, terrific time. I mean, watch out for the divorce lawyers and the alarm bells. That’s not going to work. Whereas if two people come together and go, look, I’m a little nuts and you’re probably a little nuts too ‘cause, you know, you’re human, but we’re going to try and make a go of it, you know, against the deep backdrop of human fallibility — I’d give that relationship much more of a vote, because it’s going to be based on reality.”
Marc Andreessen on Investing Cycles and Smart Entrepreneurs
"My running joke has been: [investors are] like little kids. Like, everybody out of the consumer pool, everybody into the enterprise pool. So everybody out of the waiting pool, everybody into the hot tub.
We really look for the entrepreneurs who don’t pay any attention to this. We really look for the entrepreneurs who say the following, they say:
'I have this really good idea and I know it’s a good idea for the following eight reasons, and I have thought about it and I have worked in the field, and I know what I am doing, and I have talked to the customers and I have figured it out, and I am going to do it. I am just going to flat-out do it. And I am going to do it whether you fund me or whether you don’t fund me or I don’t get funded. I am still going to do it.'
Trying to build a startup, especially in a space where no one has yet built a great company or service, is a lonely and extremely difficult thing to do. You’re trying to invent something that seems completely obvious, inevitable, and necessary to yourself and your small team, and yet very few other people agree with you. The default position of any startup is failure, and the default position of everyone is to ignore you. And a lot of smart people tell you to give up, which can be really discouraging. It takes real courage, and real passion to keep going, to know that you’re right, and that lots of people are wrong.
To keep going, to stay motivated, to find that constant supply of courage, I have to find continual inspiration. And I look for that inspiration and motivation in many different places. Lately I’ve been inspired and motivated by reading and listening to a lot of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches. I don’t know that I admire any American figure more than King. He was simply uncompromising in his moral vision for this country and the world, and he knowingly gave his life in that cause. When he took a strong position against the Vietnam War in 1968, he put much of his reputation and personal popularity at risk. But he didn’t give a shit. He just followed his conscience, dug deep into his reservoir of moral and mortal courage, and he did what he knew was the right thing to do. And wow, he is an inspiring speaker…it’s incredible. He get’s rolling around 7:00. Get hype!
"Somebody said to me not too long ago, ‘Dr. King don’t you think you are hurting your leadership by taking a stand against the war in Vietnam? Aren’t people who once respected you gonna lose respect for you? And aren’t you hurting the budget of your organization?" And I had to look at that person and say ‘I’m sorry sir, but you don’t know me.’ I’m not a consensus leader. I don’t determine what is right and wrong by looking at the budget of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, or by taking a Gallup poll of the majority opinion.
Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus, but is a molder of consensus. And on some positions cowardice asks the question, ‘is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘is it popular?’ But conscience asks the question, ‘is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.
And that is where I stand today, and that is where I hope that you will continue to stand, so that we can speed up the day when justice will roll down like waters all over the world, and righteousness like a mighty stream…
“I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time—when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.”
The creative process and artistic inspiration is mysterious. Is the creative energy of artists finite, where does it come from, why does it fade? Why do most great artists seem to be most powerful at the beginnings of their lives/careers? These are great mysteries, and no less to artists and creative people themselves. Here’s Robert Hunter, Grateful Dead lyricist, on a magical day of songwriting and inspiration, which is told many years after it happened, and many years after his creative and lyrical power had faded away:
Some of the stuff just comes boltin out of my head, and i get it down and it sounds good, and it ryhmes.
The first time I went to England it was the second day I was there, and everybody went away and left me alone with a case of Retsina. Suddenly I realized that here I was in London, the city that I’d always dreamed of going to. And I was very, very happy. I felt that I’d come home to some psychic place, you know? Maybe the home of Robin Hood and Peter Pan, you know? Haha…whatever…
Mind you I only drank half a bottle of the Retsina, but it was having the whole case there that was important.
And I sat down and I wrote “Ripple,” and “To Lay Me Down,” and “Brokedown Palace” that afternoon.
It was just a magic day. I knew I was writing stuff that would live forever. Ohhh, Ohhh.
There are those, said Plato, who go to the Olympics to compete; there are those who go to watch; and there are those who go to buy and sell things. Of the three, he characteristically adds, the noblest are those who go to watch, for their activity is closest to pure contemplation, the highest activity of the human mind. It is a striking thought that in our own time many would vote to give the most honored place to the competitors, the jocks who work out, while others would prefer to single out the entrepreneurs who promote economic progress (and often benefit themselves); but few or none would vote for the observer, the mere spectator, who is the standing butt of rebukes, delivered de haut en bas, from our social and political commentators. The sports fan, so often patronized by the contemporary highbrow, can console himself that he has the approval of the king of philosophers.