How to make a million dollars - Lessons Learned From 1,000-Plus Investments

To make a computer as we know it today, everything had to be invented. There was no such thing as an operating system. There was no such thing as a mouse. Semiconductors opened a whole new realm of possibilities.

Don Valentine did not know about Silicon Valley at first, but he knew chemistry and he wanted to be in the semiconductor business.

Most established companies at the time were going nowhere, using chemistry that was long outdated. The eventual decision really was based on a combination of boring and failing product development.

Silicon Valley was the place of the future, built around spectacular universities, the cornerstone of technology.

At the time, even in Silicon Valley, there was no environment where one could raise money and start a company, and any available money was carefully restricted in terms of what you were allowed to invest in.

Meanwhile, Stanford and Berkley, these universities became sources of people interested and capable in technology, and the universities were wonderfully funded. So it was a perfect environment for technology startups, from that point of view.

Instead of bringing your American team over, you staff the new company with the locals, making sure your company has a Chinese DNA from the start.

Be an agent, don't own anything. Uber does not own cars, Airbnb does not own building, and Amazon does not own the items they sell.

Companies die when they fail to perceive and adopt to the future. It is essential to the success of a company to reinvent themselves, with care.

Change your diet. Take risks, and advance your products beyond current applications. Sometimes you have to shut down a profitable product today, in order to win in tomorrow's race.

They were built in an interesting way. They were on a lake and everything came in a barge, so a barge would come along with cole, with steel, and the barges kept coming along with raw materials, went into a big factory and a car came out.

They would only built black cars, and they did wonderfully well, but they never got the message that other cars (blue, white...etc), were just as desirable, maybe more desirable than their black cars.

Biology and pharmaceuticals are interesting investments, but they take too much time, too much money, and the risk is very high.

One way to win is by focusing on software, and creating a solution that is complementary to the field, but that does not have to suffer from above mentioned problems.

At the very beginning, instead of having a partner choose a startup they want to join, Sequoia lets the startup choose a partner they'd like to work with. This creates for a better dynamic that reduces complexity and let's the team to work faster.

Furthermore, Sequoia partners are not allowed to display bad manners. Everyone pitching them is ought to be treated with respect, recognizing that founders are there to do a hard job.

Lastly, they do not seek credit (just money).

Peter Thiel and Sean Parker teamed up to make sure Sequoia was not part of Facebook's early round. However, future sales of Instagram and WhatsApp to Facebook had given Sequoia a sufficient steak in the company.

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