“Now is the time for people who care, who want to invent, who have skills in specific scientific and information technology areas, to get out there and add to the productivity of the economy,” Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft said during the Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders lecture at Stanford University last week.

“The question is,” he continued, “will you have the passion and the tenacity and the interest to really start something that’s important?”

In an auditorium filled with 1,700 students, Ballmer began by discussing the economy “not because it’s the cheeriest or warmest subject to start with,” he said, “but if you’re thinking about entrepreneurship, it’s probably the right place to start.”

He also discussed Microsoft, where it’s been and where it’s going, the future of technology and why ‘now’ is important to entrepreneurs. The video, embedded below, is well worth watching, particularly given Ballmer’s 29 years of first-hand experience with one of the world’s most innovative technology companies.

Steve Ballmer’s Tips to Entrepreneurs

Look around you

Look around you at the people you know, find good people, those are the people to trust when you start something.

Be patient and work hard

Some things that wind up being really important take more than ten years to become really popular. Ballmer points to Windows, SQL Databases (Oracle), Google. While he admits there are a “few exceptions,” for the most part it’s about hard work

Don’t let others dissuade you

“My parents thought I’d lost my mind to drop out of Stanford Business School to go to a company that makes software,” Ballmer said. “My dad said ‘what the heck is software’ and my mother said ‘why the heck would a person need a computer?'”

We’ve embedded the video of the lecture below; it runs about 58 minutes, the first 25 consist of his talk, the rest is made up of Q&A and it is well worth your time if you’re considering inventing something new.

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