"Saying 'the timing was wrong' can cover up a whole bunch of other mistakes, like picking the wrong strategy, financing it the wrong way, or entering the market incorrectly. It's rare for startups to be eviscerated by larger companies. Usually the big player bungles it. You have to keep executing."
—Naval Ravikant, cofounder, AngelList
"When the big companies are conspiring against you, you're in trouble. A startup has a chance if it focuses on something the big guys don't. You can't just have a piece of technology out there. You have to have a customer base or the flood will wash over you."
—Jon Fjeld, professor of "the practice of strategy," Duke University's Fuqua school of Business
"Folks talk about the first-mover advantage, but I think that is generally overstated. When we launched, there were products already out that overlapped with our ideas, and we've seen Google, Yahoo, and AOL come in with Flipboard-esque products after the fact. First isn't necessarily best."
—Evan Doll, cofounder, Flipboard
A version of this article appeared in the February 2014 issue of Fast Company magazine.