Happy Father’s Day! As we celebrate the vital role our dads play in our lives, let’s consider the words of wisdom famous entrepreneurs received from their dads:


Steve Jobs: “Paint the back of the fence.”

One thing Apple has been known for (at least while Steve Jobs ran the show) is its stunning design and attention to detail. Apparently, Jobs learned that lesson from his father. According to Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson:


“One day Paul Jobs and Steve were building a fence. And Paul said, ‘You got to make the back of the fence that nobody will see just as good looking as the front of the fence. Even though nobody will see it, you will know, and that will show that you're dedicated to making something perfect.’”



Richard Branson: “Listen more than you talk.”

Branson grew up in a busy household, where his mom constantly concocted and coached countless entrepreneurial endeavors. But, according to Branson in Forbes, his quieter dad created a balance. The lesson, says Sir Richard?


“Listen more than you talk. Nobody learned anything by hearing themselves speak.”


Mark Cuban: “Live young every day.”

Said Cuban to an audience at South by Southwest in 2014:


‘My dad is 87 and he says it over and over, ‘Today's the youngest you're ever going to be. You’ve got to live like it. You’ve got to live young every day.’”


Meg Whitman: “Be nice.”

“I'll never forget my father telling me that," Whitman told Fortune Magazine. “I had been mean to someone. He said, ‘There is no point in being mean to anyone at any time. You never know who you’re going to meet later in life. And, by the way, you don’t change anything either by being mean.’”


Martha Stewart: “You can do anything”

“The best advice I’ve ever received was from my father when I was 12 years old,” Stewart explained to Forbes. “He told me that with my personal characteristics, I could, if I set my mind to it, do anything I chose.


“This advice instilled in me a great sense of confidence, and despite the fact that sometimes I was a little nervous, I stepped out and did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. I think it really often is up to the parents to help build confidence in their children. It is a very necessary part of growing up.”


Robert Kiyosaki: “Don’t work for money, have money work for you.”

Kiyosaki had a real father, his “poor dad,” and a mentor/father, his “rich dad.” The advice he received from rich dad was so important that Kiyosaki wrote a book about it, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. In it, his “rich dad” taught Richard about money, entrepreneurship, and investments.


Bill Gates: “Do things outside of your comfort zone.”

“Well, my dad and my mom were great at encouraging me as a kid to do things that I wasn’t good at, to go out for a lot of different sports like swimming, football, soccer, and I didn’t know why.


“At the time, I thought it was kind of pointless, but it ended up really exposing me to leadership opportunities, and doing things outside my comfort zone, and showing me how to stick with things. It was fantastic, and now some of those activities I cherish. They had to stick to it too because I pushed back a lot, but it was fantastic advice.”


Thanks dads!


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About Steve StraussSteve Strauss Headshot New.png

Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest, The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business SuccessSteven D. Strauss.


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