10 Business Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Frank Underwood

Here's a look at ten Frank Underwood quotes, and underlying business lessons, every entrepreneur can learn from.

If I agreed with you we’d both be wrong.

This is the sort of thing Frank Underwood would defiantly utter, while throwing back a rack of ribs. In fact, most likely he has … said something quite like this. And that’s what makes Underwood, played by actor Kevin Spacey, a complex character–captivating, fascinating, conniving, and deplorable. All of those contradictions wrapped up into an antihero millions of viewers love to hate.

Frank Underwood (F.U.) is the lead fictional character of ‘House of Cards‘, an American political drama television series, developed and produced for Netflix. As life would have it (set in present-day Washington, D.C.) S.C. democrat Frank Underwood (and House majority whip) decides to plan his revenge on those who betrayed him, after being passed over for appointment as Secretary of State. No spoiler alerts here (catch up with Season 2).

Francis, as Claire (his scheming wife who he loves “more than sharks love blood”) likes to call him, is the show’s protagonist, and he “reel[s] us in by talking directly to the camera. We are compelled to join their conspiracy, even if we know it’s wrong. Underwood appeals because we want to know how he’s going to get out of this one,” The Telegraph’s writer Dr. Tim Stanley explains. Simply put, Underwood is good at being, “Oh, so bad.”


Photo: Frank Underwood; Source: Netflix, House of Cards
Photo: Frank Underwood; Source: Netflix, House of Cards


But there’s more to be gleaned from the Gaffney (South Carolina) proud, democrat who cares little for ideology in favor of “ruthless pragmatism” to further his own political influence, power, and gain.

Here’s a look at ten Frank Underwood quotes, and underlying business lessons, every entrepreneur can learn from. Because after all, we love being the boss. We love entrepreneurship “more than sharks love blood.”


  1. “Power doesn’t sleep in.”

    (Tweet This) What’s the true formula for success? Rise early, work hard, strike oil. (J. Paul Getty) As Inc. writer Barbara Mendez accurately states, “One common side effect of running your own business? Sleepless nights. Between the long hours and intense stress of managing a company, entrepreneurs often wind up functioning on very little sleep.”

    But the reality is this … regardless of when you finally get to bed, get up early and seize the day. For me, I’ve found that my most productive hours are in the morning when everyone else in my time zone is fast asleep. In order to make your dreams a reality, you’ve got to first — rise and shine!

  2. “While you argue the present versus the past, I am making the future.”

    (Tweet This) Vision. Every entrepreneur wants it, but few seize it. And while it is important to think big and act incrementally, we can all understand the importance of seeing into the future. As veteran startup mentor, Martin Zwilling explains, “A visionary is someone who can make sense out of the wealth of ideas, and weave together a plan for implementation that will make a difference in the world.” After all, great entrepreneurs have vision — not just ideas. But remember: what good is vision if you can’t execute?

  3. “I couldn’t possibly comment.”

    (Tweet This) Some things are better left unsaid — especially when it comes to social media. Some entrepreneurs may even ask, “Are we sharing too much on social media?” You may not realize it, but the bits and pieces of your brand (splattered across social media) online paints a clear brand picture — a picture that is so clear one might question whether some brands should use social media at all?

    While social media does more good than harm (for most businesses) first brush up on your social media etiquette, protect your brand from online backlash (case in point: US Airways twitter debacle) and then mix with confidence and purpose.

  4. “Read the fine print.”

    (Tweet This) In life and business — read the fine print. According to Forbes, there is strong empirical evidence that suggests, “the fine print is not read by the majority of consumers.” No shock there. But, the fine print is especially important for entrepreneurs — as it may likely say the opposite of what the larger print says.

    Don’t get duped in business. The next time someone tries to rush you through a “standard” contract or get you to sign on the dotted line (with intentionally left blank spaces northward on the page) take a moment, a day, or even a week … and read the fine print.


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