Inspirational quotes on tech, business, and entrepreneurialism from women

We’ve all seen a million inspiring quotes from Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos. Thanks for the inspo, boys, but it’s time we mix things up around here. Ready to launch your passion project? Your kickass local biz? Your entrepreneurial dream? Get yourself some femme-spiration!

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of maturity.
— Margaret Gould Stewart, VP of Product Design at Facebook

A new wave of leadership is upon us. One that focuses on empathy, teamwork, and iterative learning. One that places an emphasis on creating what is good for people (not just what is good for power). Margaret also says, “we aren’t designing for numbers, we are designing for people.” As such, we have to ask for help and involve others in our decision making. If we fail to do that, we’re missing the “people” mark entirely. We’re failing to incorporate and represent all viewpoints. Finally, people > ego.

If you start with a bad question, or the wrong question, you won’t end up with a useful answer. We understand this in daily life, but talking about research in a business context seems to short-circuit common sense. Everyone is too worried about looking smart in front of each other.
— Erika Hall, Co-founder of Mule Design

Up front research = risk reduction. Seems like a no-brainer, but turns out it’s hard to stop acting like a bunch of chest-beating silverback gorillas in the office. Imagine the outcome when we finally sit down and ask questions as opposed to tooting horns louder and louder, drowning each other out. It’s a necessary business culture shift that’s slowly making headway, but we’ve still got a long way to go. We have to learn to ask questions, the right ones, in order to make effective progress.

It is easier to talk than to listen. Pay attention to your clients, your users, your readers, and your friends. Your design will get better as you listen to other people.
— Ellen Lupton, Designer, Author, Curator at Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum

Designers tend to lose sight of the bigger picture as they zoom in and obsess over pixels. We’ve got to remember to zoom out and involve our users/customers regularly. Do they like what you’re doing? Do they understand it? Have you gone too far off the deep end? Ask your customers as you go, otherwise the final product will suffer. As pretty as the design may be, if it’s not solving a problem (the right problem), it’s not working.

The person who picks up the [whiteboard] marker owns the project.
— Abby Covert, Senior Information Architect at Etsy

Traditionally, teams have been structured in several layers of hierarchy. Bosses, managers, worker bees. These days, teams are becoming cross-functional. This means anyone can weigh in and everyone should weigh in! All you need to do is step up, share your ideas, and be ready for feedback. Take that whiteboard marker and make it your microphone (but also be willing to pass along the torch when it’s appropriate). Your time in the spotlight will show your peers that you’re innovative, confident, and reliable.

The most effective way to do it, is to do it.
— Amelia Earhart

And alas, the classic motivational quote to just…. go for it! Progress cannot be made without action. Not sure which of two designs will be better received? Conduct an A/B test! Unclear on how a small business loan works? Call your financial planner and ask! Can’t seem to get your point across on Slack? Schedule an in-person meeting. Whatever you do, don’t do nothing. You’re doing a disservice to your community if you don’t take action on the things that matter. Your ideas are valuable and it’s up to you to share them with the world!

Where do you get your femme-spiration?