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Brian Sugar

Outsider Insight

Brian Sugar, Co-Founder and CEO of POPSUGAR, recalls the moment when he knew the power to influence pop culture had shifted from executives to the people. He shares his technique for startups taking on deep-pocketed incumbents.

His advice to new founders: Speed wins.


In 2005, husband and wife duo Lisa and Brian Sugar created the “insanely addictive” website POPSUGAR as a fresh take on the celebrity coverage found on dated newsstands. Sequoia partnered with POPSUGAR from its very first days. It has now grown beyond news coverage to become a media company producing highly engaging content, unmatched shopping experiences, and a robust social community.

What is an Outsider Insight?

If you traced a line through Sequoia’s history from Apple to Airbnb, you’d find a common trait: each founder, partner, and trusted expert in our network possesses something we call an Outsider Insight.

An Outsider Insight transforms the way the world looks at a problem. Sometimes the insight comes from transplanting concepts from one field into another. Other times it comes from the unique experience, background, or point of view of the individual. In all cases, we hope each Outsider Insight presented here will provide practical inspiration for the next generation of founders.

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