Sequoia Capital Business Plan

The venture tech business has evolved and we've learned there are areas we should mechanize or operationalize.Some areas we can operationalize are recruiting or helping our companies in much more of a structured approach.  The investing part of the business--where you want to have a  few people with diverse backgrounds really make investment opinions then apply the resourses of those talented people to the companies--I don't think that should really change.

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We've been amazed by the level of interaction levee of ideas flows with this open air with stand up desks for the simple reason that we believe if you stand up the blood flows better and you can think a lot better.

We love open space and love the sharing of ideas.  That's really an outgrowth of structure we place here we have really a flat structure. The only art is a tchotchke from one of our companies or a poster from one of our companies.  That's not what we want. As I said, some of us are immigrants who, something happened in our lives early on maybe, our system was shocked and we have this unbelievable need to stay on top and to succeed.

Sequoia's office space is telling about the firm, Leone says.

The investment partners don't get fancy offices (or fancy art, for that matter).

In our interview, Leone also has some criticism of the increasing use of marketing and public relations among venture capital firms.

It's not hard to figure out who he's talking about.  Sequoia has traditionally done little media, preferring for its portfolio companies get the exposure--though it has recently ramped up in that and he explains why in our interview.Look at the number of PCs and how long it took to get to 100 million users, then (what happened) for Internet users and now with mobile usage. That has caused great stresses throughout the whole food chain of technology. People think cloud is just, 'Let me have your system and let's store it someplace else.'  No, that really opens up a whole set of opportunities.  So we've never seen so many opportunities. So much so that we've been careful about the terms we use.Terms like "coach," which imply we're better than you the founder--are forbidden.So we had to go the extra mile to try to convince him that we're quite different and that we could help him to build a business.Four years later the company has a .5 billion market cap.So when Mike decided to back off for health reasons and spend a lot of time with young companies, we had a backup plan in place that was built in. If anything we have more of Mike Moritz now in the venture business. The only thing he's not doing is all the paperwork, all the managing and working with India, China and Israel. So for the life of me, I can't imagine why as soon as a company has an outcome, many venture firms should press release in a matter of microseconds. And it's a practice we do not adhere to at Sequoia Capital. Until we learned that we were being repositioned by some of these people that were always in the press.  Many CEOs came up to us and said we'd like you to have more of a voice.  In some case they said were tired of defending you.  So please have a little more of a voice.  So to the extent that we have more of a voice, it's just so we can let people understand what we do and how we are.But it's not to pound our chests and claim credit in front of our CEOs and founders.All we want is a reminder of the successes we've had and some of the failures we've had--because we want to make sure we're kept honest and we learn from all the 700 or 800 investments we've made over the years. It is a drive that will never end until I die.  Many of the people we hire, if not all the people we hire, seem to have that same drive--which is why I get up at every morning to work out.I just want to make sure I don't lose an inch.That's how we think, that's how we behave and we even make sure our terminology is appropriate.I tell entrepreneurs to listen very carefully to what people are telling you.  Please listen to the exact words they use.

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