November 30, 1999 in ATDC News

Sequoia Rules

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Seems like TechCrunch has been taking a few punches lately.  Seems like the intelligence of the commenters is on the decline to many.  With that said Michael Arrington is still at the top of his game and puts up some excellent articles.  He recently did so in his post about Sequoia Capital’s Elements of Sustainable Companies.

Michael is right on two counts.  One, very few entrepreneurs are aware of the list.  Two, they are essential reading for any entrepreneur. 

Read these characteristics.  Sequoia thinks that they lead to enduring and lasting companies.  Me thinks Sequoia is also dead on.  Must, must reading.

Clarity of Purpose

Summarize the company’s business on the back of a business card.

Large Markets
Address existing markets poised for rapid growth or change. A market on the
path to a $1B potential allows for error and time for real margins to

Rich Customers
Target customers who will move fast and pay a premium for a unique offering.

Customers will only buy a simple product with a singular value proposition.

Pain Killers

Pick the one thing that is of burning importance to the customer then delight them with a compelling solution.

Think Differently

Constantly challenge conventional wisdom. Take the contrarian route. Create novel solutions. Outwit the competition.

Team DNA

A company’s DNA is set in the first 90 days. All team members are the
smartest or most clever in their domain. "A" level founders attract an
"A" level team.


Stealth and speed will usually help beat-out large companies.


Focus spending on what’s critical. Spend only on the priorities and maximize profitability.


Start with only a little money. It forces discipline and focus. A huge market
with customers yearning for a product developed by great engineers
requires very little firepower.

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