Be incredibly, ruthlessly selfish with your equity.
During dark times, real entrepreneurs come out. They are not competing with 10 look-alike companies for engineering talent, so it's a great time to invest and help build companies.
If you choose a market that already exists, say, networking equipment, you have to compete with an established company like Cisco. Even if your product is marginally better, Cisco can fudge it and outsell you.
Give me an entrepreneur with a lot of courage, gusto and who iterates rapidly, and I will back that person day in and day out.
Guys like me on the investor side are a dime a dozen.
I'll say this: I can't think of one instance in my 20 years in venture capital in which I have wanted to sell a company before the entrepreneur.
Our business is all about helping someone - a founder, a CEO - building a great business. It's not about seeing our names in the press.
We see China as a large market opportunity with similar cyclical economic cycles that occur throughout every economy.
In a globalized world, one application can spread like wildfire and there's only one winning company, which means you have to invest more than you've ever had.
We work as a team. I think having the individual being shown as a star actually creates problems internally. We encourage all our investors to work as a team for the benefit of the founders.
I routinely make trips to China and India where we have offices to continue to maintain the linkages that are necessary to run a successful business.
The trick is, a market has to be nonexistent when you start. If the market is large early on, you will have too many competitors. You have to make it large.
We have co-opted seed funds. You know, Y Combinator, that was completely our money. We have secret handshakes with a whole bunch of people. Very dangerous, because word gets out that so-and-so's money is Sequoia's money, that would not be a good thing.
A tremendous chief executive in a small market will never be great. All great companies start with great markets.
Crystal-clear thinking is one of the things we look for - not a fancy slide pitch, but crystal-clear thinking.
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