Check out this post by Michael Arrington on TechCrunch, entitled Sequoia’s Gospel of Startups More True than Ever. You can see what Sequoia calls the Elements of Sustainable Companies on Sequoia’s own website, here. A TechCrunch intern wrote an article about them, here.
Here there are in summarized form:
- Clarity of purpose
- Large markets
- Rich customers
- Pain killers
- Think differently
- Team DNA
I think it’s an excellent list of principles for startups to follow and I think at Mark Logic we are doing a great job at staying true to them. We know why we’re here. We’re targeting a huge opportunity (80% of an enterprise’s information is, after all, unstructured). We target customers “in pain” with problems on which they’re willing to spend money to solve. We are ruthlessly focused in our execution. We, by nature, challenge the conventional wisdom. We have a strong team and are seeing increasing returns from having one — great people attract more great people; it’s self-reinforcing in my opinion. And we’re frugal. Heck, I don’t pay a nickel to publish this blog or get the analytics on it. In fact, the blog makes money, though I’m sure I could make more money pan-handling than I have from my AdSense advertising experiement. But let’s not digress.
Ultimately, it’s not my self-assessment of Mark Logic that matters. The guys who wrote the principles, Sequoia Capital, have invested in Mark Logic in each of our three venture rounds. So, evidently, they think we’re doing a good job on them, too.
My net message: if you’re a startup, read the Sequoia principles and live by them. And be honest with yourself in assessing your adherence.