35 quotes from business visionaries who are changing the world

The Business Insider 100: The Creators is a testament to businesses and leaders who have
pushed the envelope and made customers, employees, and society a priority in addition to shareholders.
Though success is often defined by wealth, the leaders on our Creators list have achieved great heights through innovative products, care for their customers and employees, and respect for the rest of the world.

Read on to see how 40 of these visionaries approach success, business, and making an impact on society — in their own words.

'The antidote to inequality is equality. The question is how do you achieve equality? I believe that for business, which is where I can speak, we have to shift from shareholder maximization to stakeholder maximization. And when we only focus on our shareholders, that's when it becomes very limiting and that's when we can draw fire from other stakeholders.' -- Marc Benioff, Salesforce

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'We can all be as groovy as we want to be, but the ultimate form of sustainability is being able to keep the doors open. ... Having that vision that has a deeply embedded purpose to it helps to ground you, and having that commitment to making sure that the literal sustainability of the company goes forward -- you need that combination.' -- Kim Jordan, New Belgium Brewing Company

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'Obviously everyone wants to be successful, but I want to be looked back on as being very innovative, very trusted and ethical and ultimately making a big difference in the world.' -- Sergey Brin, Google

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'If you can raise the floor of what a generation of children know, then you've raised the floor of what that country can do as those children become adults.' -- Shannon May, Bridge International Academies

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Shannon May with her husband, Jay Kimmelman.

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'People recognise Patagonia as a company that's going to keep asking deep questions about our supply chain, the impact we're having in the world, and looking at business through a more holistic lens other than profit. Profit is important; if it wasn't, you wouldn't be talking to me. But profit isn't the only measure of success.' -- Rose Marcario, Patagonia

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'I think that there's a lot of important need for charity and nonprofit work in the world, but I felt like if I could use business -- something I was really good at -- to solve problems like kids needing shoes or people needing eye care surgeries or prescription glasses, that was a better match.' -- Blake Mycoskie, TOMS

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'I've always been driven and hungry. Long after others have stopped to rest and recover, I'm still running, chasing after something nobody else could ever see.' -- Howard Schultz, Starbucks

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'My goal has always been to create a restaurant I wanted to eat at, a restaurant I wanted to work in, and a business that I wanted to be a part of. Going into business was really my way to make a difference in the world.' -- Ron Shaich, Panera Bread

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'I am focused on one thing: the opportunity to make a difference in tens of millions of women's lives by giving them access to the information and resources they need to plan their families.' -- Melinda Gates, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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'Intellectual intelligence is really important, but what's more important in a leader is high emotional intelligence. That's why I think women make better executives than men.' -- Kip Tindell, The Container Store

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'One area where I think we are especially distinctive is failure. I believe we are the best place in the world to fail (we have plenty of practice!), and failure and invention are inseparable twins. To invent you have to experiment, and if you know in advance that it's going to work, it's not an experiment.' -- Jeff Bezos, Amazon

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'What really matters is that we are in the midst of a technological renaissance that will be much farther reaching than any of us can predict if we invest correctly. Our generation has an opportunity, in our lifetime, to put a massive dent in human suffering and make trillions of dollars in return.' -- Chamath Palihapitiya, Social Capital

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'That our business is equally led by men and women is essential for our future growth and for being a great place to work. Diversity opens for new perspectives, creativity and innovation.' -- Peter Agnefjäll, IKEA

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'There's a real cult of personality these days around startups -- like, 'Who were your investors, where did you go to school, how many followers do you have on Instagram' -- but if you just push a great product, people will want to know the story.' -- Sarah Kauss, S'well

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'Hospitality will not succeed unless the person on the receiving end knows all the way to the bottom of their kishkes (Yiddish for guts) that you're on their side. If you know I've got your back and I'm on your side, I guarantee you hospitality's happening.' -- Danny Meyer, Union Square Hospitality Group

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'I didn't want to wake up and kick myself for not pursuing something I believed in. I couldn't wait to reject the status quo, punch it in the face and kick it to the curb.' -- Jessica Alba, The Honest Company

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'I think that companies forming today often have some values sets at their core and we believe we are part of a growing movement, but for us this just reflects the culture of our organisation, of just embracing the idea and being part of something bigger. That our own success should not come at the expense of others, that true leadership means taking action where everyone benefits -- not just yourself.' -- Yancey Strickler, Kickstarter

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'A significant section of the world doesn't have access to a good education but many over the next 10 years will own a mobile phone. We see this as a way to deliver education to everyone.' -- Luis Von Ahn, Duolingo

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'We really look for diversity because at the core of GoldieBlox -- one of our core values -- is that we believe a diverse workforce will come up with the best solutions for the world's biggest problems.' -- Debbie Sterling, GoldieBlox

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'When I was growing up, a lot of people told me that I'd have to spend 10 years in a job I didn't like to get somewhere. Then I started interviewing entrepreneurs and all of them told me not to wait to start doing what I wanted to do. They were right.' -- Zach Sims, Codecademy

'I think like a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. Failure is a great teacher. At the same time you must remember, success will never last … Whether it's tech or fashion, it must be for the customer.' -- Tadashi Yanai, Fast Retailing

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'Optimism is priceless -- but only when coupled with measurement.' -- Ashton Kutcher, A-Grade Investments and Thorn

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'There are different ways to do innovation. You can plant a lot of seeds, not be committed to any particular one of them, but just see what grows. And this really isn't how we've approached this. We go mission-first, then focus on the pieces we need and go deep on them, and be committed to them. These things can't fail. We need to get them to work in order to achieve the mission.' -- Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

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'Silicon Valley is built on impatience and doing things rapidly, but what I had to learn is that not everything comes overnight. Sometimes we just have to wait and, if you focus on the positives, that can be just as rewarding.' -- Anne Wojcicki, 23andMe

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'One thing I learned is, big ideas sound stupid in the beginning. I've always heard that if your idea is any good there is no problem with sharing it because people will dismiss it. Many ideas come from solving your own problem which aren't life changing problems  --   but these ideas could potentially become life changing ideas.' -- Brian Chesky, Airbnb

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'It is not about smart or not-smart, or motivated or demotivated; it is a lot about how strong your foundation is, and how confident you are. One's perception of themselves has a much bigger role than has been acknowledged to determine who succeeds and who does not.' -- Salman Khan, Khan Academy

'It's not 'How can we make more?' It's 'How can we do more?'' -- Neil Blumenthal, Warby Parker

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'One of the best pieces of advice I ever received from my parents is to think of negativity as noise. Believe in yourself and what you're doing. Remember: If the most unique ideas were obvious to everyone, there wouldn't be entrepreneurs. The one thing that every entrepreneurial journey has in common is that there are many, many steps on the road to success.' -- Tory Burch

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'What I've learned, first of all, is to live your values. It's easy to put words on paper. What we had to do was demonstrate our values. We put the customer at the center, we were transparent. That has allowed us to emerge a much stronger company.' -- Mary Barra, General Motors

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'When honesty and trust prevail at a company, employees will be able to do their best, entrepreneurial work. And we believe the way you get to this point where everyone can work at their highest level is if you define a mutually beneficial, explicit 'alliance' with your employees.' -- Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn and Greylock Partners

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'What we're doing today is really special because today (it's) not just about selling product, it really isn't. It's about driving something that the customer really believes in.' -- Jennifer Foyle, Aerie

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'I'm certainly well taken care of in terms of food and clothes. Money has no utility to me beyond a certain point. Its utility is entirely in building an organisation and getting the resources out to the poorest in the world.' -- Bill Gates, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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'As companies grow, people tend to focus on the negative aspects of what that means. But when you don't fear growth, but embrace it and organise around it, you can do some interesting things.' -- Chad Dickerson, Etsy

'From the beginning, it's always been critical for us to design our products in collaboration with our customers and have marketing that really appeals to them and doesn't talk down to them, but really treats them as an equal with dignity.' -- Ned Tozun, d.Light

'First, you have to do something you believe in. I believed from the start that Clif Bar was a worthy product. Then, keep making it the best you can. Also, you've got to be humble about whatever you do -- do not become arrogant, and always keep your ego in check. And never give up.' -- Gary Erickson, Clif Bar

Gary Erickson with his wife, Kit Crawford.

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