Advice from… Eric Schmidt – chairman of Alphabet Inc.

“Don’t bother to have a plan at all. All that stuff about plan, throw that out.  It seems to me that it’s all about opportunity and make your own luck. You study the most successful people, and they work hard and they take advantage of opportunities that come that they don’t know are going to happen to them. You cannot plan innovation, you cannot plan invention. All you can do is try very hard to be in the right place and be ready. You know, the pacemaker for example was invented 70 years in one form or another before it was applied. It was applied to this one poor fella, and 25 pacemakers later he was still alive. But the important part is he wouldn’t have been at all had the pacemaker not have been invented. You never know.”

Advice from… Larry Page – co-founder of Google Inc.

“I think it is often easier to make progress on mega-ambitious dreams. I know that sounds completely nuts. But, since no one else is crazy enough to do it, you have little competition. There are so few people this crazy that I feel like I know them all by first name. They all travel as if they are pack dogs and stick to each other like glue. The best people want to work the big challenges. That is what happened with Google.”

Advice from… Steve Ballmer – CEO of Microsoft 2000-2014

“Passion is the ability to get excited about something. Irrepressibility and tenacity is about the ability to stay with it. If you take a look at all of the companies that have been started in our business, most of them fail. If you take even a look at the companies that have succeeded, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Facebook, you name it, all of these companies went through times of hardship. You get some success. You run into some walls. You try a formula for a new idea, a new innovation, it doesn’t work. And it’s how tenacious you are, how irrepressible, how ultimately optimistic and tenacious you are about it that will determine your success.”

Advice from… Jeff Bezos – co-founder of Amazon.com:

“I will hazard a prediction. When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story.”

Advice from… Michael Dell – founder of Dell Inc.

“Try never to be the smartest person in the room. And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people … or find a different room. In professional circles it’s called networking. In organisations it’s called team building. And in life it’s called family, friends, and community. We are all gifts to each other, and my own growth as a leader has shown me again and again that the most rewarding experiences come from my relationships.”

Advice from… Michael Bloomberg – founder of Bloomberg LP

“My first job out of school was on Wall Street and I stayed there for 15 years. It was a terrific ride: Fun times, and lots of praise from my bosses. Everybody loved me – right up until the day they fired me! But I remained optimistic – because happiness for me has always been going out and trying to beat the odds. So the next day after I got fired, literally the next day, I started a new company.”

Advice from… Steve Jobs – co-founder of Apple Inc.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, some day you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “no” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Stanford University, 2005

Advice from… Bill Gates – co-founder of Microsoft

My mother, who was filled with pride the day I was admitted here-never stopped pressing me to do more for others. A few days before my wedding, she hosted a bridal event, at which she read aloud a letter about marriage that she had written to Melinda. My mother was very ill with cancer at the time, but she saw one more opportunity to deliver her message, and at the close of the letter she said: “From those to whom much is given, much is expected.”

Harvard University, 2007