Target Big Markets (Don Valentine founder of Sequoia)

  • We have always focused on the market. The size of the market. The dynamics of the market. The nature of the competition. Our objective was always to build big companies. If you don’t attack a big market it is highly unlikely you will ever build a big company. [4:30]

  • We don't spend a lot of time wondering where people went to school. We are interested in their idea about the market they are after. The magnitude of the problem they are solving. [5:00]

  • We don't choose people. We choose markets. We rarely invest in an area where there is only one product. If you think of the Apple computer as a system - we knew we'd need to finance one or more memory companies. [6:45] 

  • We have gone into business with some people who had no business credentials. We organized the companies in ways so people who ran them could do so based on the limited experience they had. We taught them outsourcing. We taught them that you only had to do a few things well. [15:10]

  • We were not interested in creating markets. It's too expensive. We were interested in exploiting markets early. [16:15] 

  • The right people to invest in are technologists. People who have a dream to solve a problem. Most were not interested in becoming wealthy. That was an accident. They were interested in solving technology problems and creating new products. [17:00]

  • We don't wait for you to knock on our door. At Sequoia, we knock on your door. [21:00]

  • The art of storytelling is critically important. Most of the entrepreneurs who come talk to us can't tell a story. Learning to tell a story is incredibly important because that's how the money works. The money flows as a function of the stories. [22:45] 

  • There is only one metric that matters in our world. It's cashflow. We hire people that are wizards at cashflow. [32:45] 

  • Full video here: Don Valentine, Sequoia Capital: Target Big Markets