Photo: Sequoia Partners
Douglas Leone of Sequoia Partners just finished on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt, and he had some interesting advice for young founders: stop talking.On stage with Mike Arrington, he gave the following advice for small startups:
Little companies have really 2 advantages: stealth and speed. You [Arrington] come from the world of speed and no stealth.
The best thing for little companies do is to stay away from the cocktail circuit….We at Sequoia have never released a press release in 35 years….Then run like a son-of-a- gun. Don’t say anything to anybody.
Leone contrasted the startups from when he started in 1988 with the companies he sees today. Back then, startups were building infrastructure — like chips — and that took an older founder with some experience at a big company, then a team 15 or 20 people who would lock themselves in a building and spend 12 and 15 months building “fundamental IP.”
Now, a couple of young smart people can create a beta Web site over a weekend and iterate from there. A lot of younger founders “don’t know what they don’t know,” and that creates the temptation to talk too much.
He’s worth listening to: Leone claims that Sequoia has never lost money on a fund, and has returned between $15 and $20 billion to its limited partners on an estimated total investment of between $5 and $7 billion. The company’s early investments include Yahoo, Google, and YouTube.
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