I ended up at Sequoia somewhat by accident. I never imagined how much of a privilege it would be or how much I would enjoy it.
Going from extremely unfit to a modestly capable runner made a huge impact on my thinking. The discipline to end every week a few percentage points better than the last makes a massive cumulative difference.
All areas where technology can impact or create large markets are interesting to me. Markets and technology keep changing. The only certainty is that tomorrow’s focus will be different from today.
Building competitive advantage in companies requires the same discipline over years. There are rarely any silver bullets.
When I was nine, I moved from Delhi to South Mumbai. Living a less affluent lifestyle than many around me was really good for my insecurity quotient.
I still wake up in the middle of the night sometimes, worried about failing because I didn’t work enough.
My job is to keep my ears open and listen very carefully.
Everyday, I get to meet entrepreneurs who want to change the world. I personally don’t know of a better way to stay young.
The best way to stay plugged in is to talk to as many people as possible. And read. I wish I could spend eight hours a day just reading.
There’s a whole spectrum of false myths out there about VCs - heartless capitalists, don’t care about individuals, force their will on founders, are short term in their outlook.
Just like CEOs, our job involves balancing multiple aspects. Sometimes decisions are easy, most times they are complex. We are not out to optimize only one thing.
We work as hard at our business as you do at yours. We may not always succeed but we always aspire to be the best business partner to founders.
The best advice I ever got was ‘Focus’. Unfortunately it took me 15 years to distil it. One word answer, a lifetime of execution.
I have a great many regrets, nearly all of them involving things I didn’t do. I wish I had more self-awareness earlier in life.
Don’t always look for consensus. The hardest decisions in life – marriage, career, investing, hiring, firing – are usually not driven by consensus.
There are a hundred little things that keep me up at night. I worry about the companies Sequoia has invested in and the future of our business. Venture capital moves in slower cycles but 20 years from today will be very different. Darwin is inescapable.
The number one quality I look for in entrepreneurs is authenticity. The pure desire to solve a problem. Fortunately, this quality is not algorithmically determinable.
The ability to communicate an ambitious vision clearly is rare. Building a company involves rallying and herding a number of very smart, autonomous people towards a common objective.
The bigger the assumption an entrepreneur questions, the bigger the likely opportunity. Even if the business doesn’t actually succeed, it makes people sit up and take notice.
Sequoia always takes the lens of what would make a company enduring, which means trying to always do the right thing by the company in the long-term.
I hope founders think of me as someone who is willing to push them beyond their comfort zone in the interests of their business. And someone willing to listen to anything, anytime.