This is Tim O’Reilly’s Personal Mantra

April 22, 2014

1:49 pm

Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, took to Reddit this afternoon at 1 pm ET for an AMA, answering questions from curious Redditors about the Internet of Things.

But of course, in the face of a digital legend, redditors couldn’t just stick to the topic at hand. So someone asked: what’s your personal mantra? O’Reilly said:

“My personal mantra [is] ‘Create more value than you capture.’ I’ve always been interested in making interesting things happen, and empowering other people who make interesting things. And I’ve accomplished that pretty well!”

It reminded O’Reilly of a time in the mid-90s when Cisco wanted to acquire O’Reilly Media. But it seems that their visions for creating value didn’t match up:

“I asked ‘Why would you want to acquire a book publisher?'” O’Reilly recalled. “They said ‘You’ve been there first more times than anyone else, and then you’ve failed to exploit it. We want you to keep doing that, but then we’ll exploit it.’ I actually think I’ve done a pretty good job of exploiting the opportunities I’ve seen, just not in the way that people expect.”

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact

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