Aaron Levie Quotes
Aaron Levie Quotes





















Biography

Author Profession: Businessman
Nationality: American
Born: 1985
























Steve Jobs is the most epic entrepreneur of all time. He served as a guiding light for any emerging businessperson who wanted to learn how things should get done. He’ll be looked at as one of the best business leaders of all time, and certainly one of the best tech entrepreneurs.


Aaron Levie






Light, Business, Time, Best, Done, Learn
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I think people are always able to achieve more than they think they can. While that’s cliche, I don’t know if managers think about that enough. You have to set your sights extremely high.


Aaron Levie






People, Think, Enough, You, Know, High
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I think bad politics are incredibly dangerous, so it’s important to make sure that people are communicating well. Culture and morale are super important. It’s best to not force it, but let it happen organically and genuinely.


Aaron Levie






Best, Culture, Politics, People, Think
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I’m certainly not into money and prestige. For me there is simply nothing more exciting than people involved in the creation of great products. That is what drives me.


Aaron Levie






Great, Money, People, Me, Nothing, More
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I think I’m the kind of person who would be very difficult to employ – I’m pretty annoying, but driven.


Aaron Levie






Think, Kind, Person, Difficult, Pretty
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My co-founder Dylan Smith and I left our junior year of college to move to the Bay Area. To the horror of our friends’ parents, we actually had two other friends drop out of college to work on the product. The four of us were just working non-stop growing Box.


Aaron Levie






Work, Parents, Year, College, Friends
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Execute like there’s no tomorrow, strategize like there will be.

Aaron Levie



Entrepreneur, Tomorrow, 
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Opportunity lives at the intersection of what people need tomorrow and can be just barely built today.

Aaron Levie



Opportunity, People, Needs, Today,
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The product that wins is the one that bridges customers to the future, not the one that requires a giant leap.

Aaron Levie



Winning, Bridges, Giants
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Focus too much on the near-term and you won’t get tomorrow’s customers, focus too much on the long-term and you won’t get today’s.

Aaron Levie



Long, Focus, Today
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Start with something simple and small, then expand over time. If people call it a ‘toy’ you’re definitely onto something.

Aaron Levie



Simple, People, Toys
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Startups often win because it’s easier to see what comes next when you don’t have to worry about maintaining what came last.

Aaron Levie



Winning, Worry, Lasts
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The chance of failure is almost always better than the guarantee of never knowing.

Aaron Levie



Knowing, Guarantees, Chance
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Better to be too early and have to try again, than be too late and have to catch up.

Aaron Levie



Trying, Too Late, Late
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If people don’t think the odds are against you, you’re doing it wrong.

Aaron Levie



Thinking, Odds, People
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Your product should sell itself, but that does not mean you don’t need salespeople.

Aaron Levie



Mean, Doe, Needs
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A lot of being productive personally is determined by how you organize your entire business. You can’t separate those two things.

Aaron Levie



Two, Determined, Organize
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Too little process and you can’t get good work done. Too much process and you can’t get any work done. Most companies never find the middle.

Aaron Levie



Done, Littles, Too Much
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The best technology is aimed far enough in the future that it stands out, but close enough to the present that it blends in.

Aaron Levie



Technology, Enough, Standing Out
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If you’re waiting for encouragement from others, you’re doing it wrong. By the time people think an idea is good, it’s probably too late.

Aaron Levie



Encouragement, Thinking, Ideas
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I think because of the iPhone and the fact that we now have a ubiquitous internet, our creativity in the startup space is 10 times different. Every single industry, every single market, is going to be technology-driven in some way. There’s an infinite opportunity for startups because now you can go and solve problems that previously looked like they had nothing to do with technology.

Aaron Levie



Creativity, Technology, Opportunity
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Innovation is hard because solving problems people didn’t know they had & building something no one needs look identical at first.

Aaron Levie



People, Innovation, Needs
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Companies have never won. You’re always either fighting for survival, or fighting for relevance.

Aaron Levie



Fighting, Entrepreneur, Survival
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Tip: Take the stodgiest, oldest, slowest moving industry you can find. And build amazing software for it.

Aaron Levie





Moving, Software, Industry
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If there could’ve ever been a magical time to build an enterprise software company, now is absolutely that time.

Aaron Levie



Building, Software, Enterprise
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The benefit to building a startup is that customers don’t have the same kind of friction when they adopt new technology.

Aaron Levie



Technology, Benefits, Kind
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My acronym is WWSJD: What Would Steve Jobs Do?


Aaron Levie






Would, Steve Jobs, Jobs, Steve
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My dad is a chemical engineer, and my mom was a teacher. They were pretty serious about education, but I always thought about things a little bit differently.


Aaron Levie






Education, Teacher, Mom, Thought, Things
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What happens to the Microsofts, Oracles and IBMs of the world is that when they get big enough, they don’t think they need to bring that same level of focus and energy to the end-user experience.


Aaron Levie






Experience, Focus, World, Energy, Think
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It’s not accidental that products get worse over time; it’s because companies stop paying attention to them. They stop caring as much about maintaining the same quality they did when they were just trying to fight for survival and no one would pay attention unless they had the best technology.


Aaron Levie






Technology, Time, Best, Quality, Caring
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I have a lot of faults. I often interrupt in meetings. I talk too loud. I talk too fast.


Aaron Levie






Meetings, Talk, Fast, Loud, Faults, Lot

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Any time where the delta b/w what is possible and how things work today is at its widest, that’s an opportunity to go build new technology.

Aaron Levie



Technology, Opportunity, Today, Work, 
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If every customer is using your product “correctly”, you’ll never learn anything interesting about what to do next.

Aaron Levie



Interesting, Next, Customers
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The most customer-centric organizations can answer any question by deciding what’s best for the customer, without ever having to ask.

Aaron Levie



Organization, Answers, Asks
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We didn’t really start the company to go build an enterprise software company.

Aaron Levie



Building, Software, Enterprise
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They can bring the technology in, then you can sell to the enterprise when they want to have better control, better security… you still have the same biz model as a traditional enterprise sw company, but the way to get into the company is through the end user.

Aaron Levie



Technology, Want, Way
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Every single industry is going through a major business model and technology oriented disruption.

Aaron Levie
Technology, Building, Disruption
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Look for new enabling technologies that create a wide gap between how things have been done and how they can be done.

Aaron Levie



Technology, Looks, Done
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In the enterprise you want to start intentionally small.

Aaron Levie



Want, Building, Enterprise, Small, 
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You intentionally start small, because you will not be able to compete with an incumbent… because the incumbent is always going to go for the full solution.

Aaron Levie



Able, Building, Incumbents, Start, 
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Do things that incumbents can’t or won’t do because it’s economically or technically infeasible.

Aaron Levie



Building, Incumbents, Because, 
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You can look at the cost structure of an incumbent company and discover: where are they not going to be able to drop their prices… because that business model is fundamental to the existence of the company.

Aaron Levie



Looks, Cost, Fundamentals, Discover,
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Everything about the enterprise, and then by definition the software the enterprise uses has changed - just in the last 5 years.

Aaron Levie



Years, Use, Definitions, Everything, 
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Always look for these changing technology factors- any market that has a significant change in the underlying raw materials …or enabling factors, is an environment that is about to change in a very significant way.

Aaron Levie



Technology, Significant Change, Raw Materials
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All we’re really doing is repeating technologies that were tried 10, 20, 30 years ago… it’s just that it was too expensive, too unusable, and we didn’t have the enabling technologies to make it possible.

Aaron Levie



Technology, Years, Enabling, Possible, 
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My workday begins around 11 A.M., with a cup of black coffee in each hand. If I had more hands, there would be more coffee.


Aaron Levie






Coffee, Black, Hands, Hand, More, Cup

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I interned at Miramax and subsequently at Paramount because I was really curious about the future of entertainment – how were we going to get films online? While the inspiration for Box didn’t come from that experience directly, it was very obvious that bigger businesses had a lot of slow processes and cumbersome technology.


Aaron Levie






Future, Technology, Experience, Curious

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My mom is proud of me. But she might not be too happy about the hours I keep or how little I eat. I wake up so late that it would be inappropriate to have breakfast. At most, I will have a snack in the day and dinner. I realize that it’s not the healthiest way to live, but it’s all I really have time for.


Aaron Levie






Time, Live, Mom, Day, Happy, Breakfast

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My downtime tends to resemble my uptime. Weekends are workdays, but toned down. Over the whole weekend, I may have five meetings, as opposed to six on a weekday. I used to play piano for 30 minutes at night, but I had to pull that out of my schedule. I don’t have time for nonwork stuff.


Aaron Levie






Time, Night, Weekend, Meetings, Down
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If you think about the market that we’re in, and more broadly just the enterprise software market, the kind of transition that’s happening right now from legacy systems to the cloud is literally, by definition, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.


Aaron Levie






Opportunity, Legacy, Think, You, Cloud
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All of a sudden, if you think about the entire ecosystem of connected devices that can pull down information, access content and allow me to share and work and communicate, the vast majority now are not Windows computers. They are iPhones. They are iPads. They are Android devices.


Aaron Levie






Work, Me, Computers, Think, Down, You
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If you’re in your early 20s and you’re hanging out with a bunch of other people in their early 20s, nobody has a sense of the kinds of problems that real ‘workers’ run into every day. They’re running into a completely different set of problems like ‘What’s the party going on right now that I should be going to?’


Aaron Levie






Day, People, Problems, Run, You, Party
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The dynamic with social is you tend not to have products with 30% market share. It’s all or nothing. Email works because we have open standards that let you communicate across any email client.


Aaron Levie






You, Nothing, Open, Email, Standards
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The business models in enterprise have changed pretty dramatically. A huge problem with enterprise software traditionally has been usually you sell to the customer and then they adopt the technology. The great thing about ‘freemium’ and the new way enterprise software is being sold is you get to try it first and then buy it.


Aaron Levie






Technology, Business, Great, Problem
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I tend to not discriminate when it comes to people I can learn from. Basically, if someone has built a meaningful business in software, technology or media, faced disruption and adversity, and overcame underdog status, I want to know how they did it.


Aaron Levie






Adversity, Technology, Business, People
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There’s a lot of pride that business owners have. It’s actually really critical that pride and ownership extends to everyone in the organization. I think of everyone is in the same boat in driving the company forward.


Aaron Levie






Business, Pride, Boat, Organization
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It’s unfortunate biologically we have to sleep.


Aaron Levie






Sleep, Unfortunate, Biologically
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We’re going from a world of customized software to standardized platforms.

Aaron Levie



World, Building, Platforms
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The IT model of the enterprise has become a lot more user lead.

Aaron Levie



Building, Enterprise, Models
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You can keep ‘consumer’ DNA at the center of your product. That will always mean that adoption is easier.

Aaron Levie



Mean, Dna, Adoption
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Modularize, don’t customize. Build a platform as opposed to building all of the custom technology and custom vertical experiences.

Aaron Levie



Technology, Building, Platforms
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Listen to your customers, but don’t always build exactly what they’re telling you. This is a really key distinction around building enterprise software.

Aaron Levie



Keys, Building, Distinction
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Go after the customers that are working in the future, but haven’t totally lost their minds.

Aaron Levie



Mind, Building, Lost
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You want to find the really crazy but still somewhat reasonable outliers within the customer ecosystem.

Aaron Levie



Crazy, Ecosystems, Want
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Innovation in tech favors the naive and the stubborn. If you are too rational you won’t tackle problems that others once failed at.

Aaron Levie



Innovation, Stubborn, Favors 
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In a user lead model, users are bringing in their own technology… and you can build software then, around the user.

Aaron Levie



Technology, Building, Software
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Read these 3 books - Crossing the Chasm, Innovators Dilemma and Behind the Cloud.

Aaron Levie



Book, Clouds, Building
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In an IT lead world, incumbents generally win because they have the existing relationship with the IT organization.

Aaron Levie



Winning, Organization, World
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Sometimes things are the way they are and can’t be changed, other times it’s because no one ever tried. Your job is to find the latter.

Aaron Levie



Jobs, Way, Sometimes
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Uber is a $3.5 billion lesson in building for how the world *should* work instead of optimizing for how the world *does* work

Aaron Levie



Uber, Doe, World
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When you’re doing something you’re passionate about, stress becomes a featurenot a bug.

Aaron Levie



Stress, Passionate, Bugs
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Entrepreneurship: 10% coach, 20% player, 30% cheerleader, 40% waterboy.

Aaron Levie



Player, Entrepreneur, Cheerleader 
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That’s already been tried before only means the first attempt got it wrong.

Aaron Levie



Mean, Firsts
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Start with the assumption that the best way to do something is not the way it’s being done right now.

Aaron Levie



Done, Way, Assumption
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Why we do what we do: that moment when you get to see the future on your computer screen before the rest of the world.

Aaron Levie



World, Computer, Moments
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Better to be right about the trend and wrong about the implementation, than the other way around.

Aaron Levie



Trends, Way, Implementation
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The 10% between 90% done to 100% done takes most of the time, causes most of the stress, but is all of the value.

Aaron Levie



Stress, Done, Causes
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The only barrier to entry you can create is to consistently build a great product.

Aaron Levie



Barriers, Entry, Products
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We’re enamored with the concept that there’s always a price. But sometimes, your goal is to build a great company, not sell it.

Aaron Levie



Goal, Sometimes, Great Company
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The only way to avoid disruption is to constantly do what you would if you were just starting out.

Aaron Levie



Starting Out, Way, Disruption
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You’ll learn more in a day talking to customers than a week of brainstorming, a month of watching competitors, or a year of market research.

Aaron Levie



Talking, Years, Research
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Jeff Bezos is opening a retail store and owns a newspaper. Turns out everything we thought about the Internet is wrong.

Aaron Levie



Retail, Internet, Newspapers
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I’m obsessed with speed. I’m always asking myself, ‘Why can’t we do things faster? Why can’t it happen more efficiently? Why is this requiring three meetings instead of one?’

Aaron Levie



Three, Asking, Brilliant
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I believe there’s plenty of market for each; we’re talking about an ecosystem that is going to support billions of devices, so a competitive landscape is good for consumers, developers, and the platforms alike. Apple brings a smooth elegance to its devices and platform, with the best marketplace experience to boot. Google brings a higher volume of devices as well as a more diverse ecosystem to interact with. The real story here is that Microsoft is nowhere to be seen, ending a two-decade monopoly and creating biggest opportunity for software startups probably ever.

Aaron Levie



Real, Believe, Opportunity
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I don’t use many apps. I use naps.

Aaron Levie



Naps, Use, Apps
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If you don’t go to every level of your company, you distance yourself from the marketplace and from your people.

Aaron Levie



Distance, People, Levels
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Startups live at the intersection of existential crisis and everything going perfectly great.

Aaron Levie




Existential, Crisis, Existential Crisis
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