Welsh Wisdom For Business Growth – Michael Moritz

It makes sense to learn from successful entrepreneurs who have proven their skills many times over.

In this series we gather advice from successful Welsh business people, bringing together their quotes and opinions, to inspire and guide you to ever-greater business growth.

Michael Moritz

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Photo: Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Sir Michael Moritz, from Cardiff, worked as a journalist for Time magazine, then joined venture capital firm Sequoia Capital in 1986. He led Sequoia from the mid-1990s until 2012, investing early in companies including Google, YouTube, LinkedIn and PayPal.

He is the biggest individual investor in Sequoia-managed funds, and continues to make investments and work with current portfolio companies including Instacart, Klarna and Stripe.

Business Growth Advice

1. Follow Your Instincts

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“‘Trust your instincts’ was the advice 25 years ago from Don Valentine, the founder of Sequoia Capital, about whether we should participate in the seed round Sequoia Capital of S3.

This shouldn’t be confused with “trust your gut”, “ignore reality”. The rough translation is “do your homework well, analyze things carefully, assess the options but eventually trust your judgment and have the courage of your convictions – even if they are unpopular”. This means swimming against the tide and being prepared to feel lonely.

Most people are not brave enough to just follow their instincts. Following your instincts isn’t easy when familial and social pressures suggest a conventional path or when political pressures within an organization make conformity the comfortable choice”.

Helpful Resources:

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” You don’t need to be a tech expert to see potential. More important than a formal technical education is the ability to effectively learn and process new information and ideas.

 

Start on an endeavour where you know nothing; where you gather a lot of materials and facts, distill those facts, and then form a cogent opinion and make a decision”.

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3. Look Out For The Unexpected

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“The best investments are hard to pigeonhole. Watch for investment opportunities where the ideas “don’t fit in a convenient bucket,” such as Airbnb and Chinese drone company DJI. 

That’s the thing to look out for — the unexpected”.

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4. Play the Long Game

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“These are very, very long journeys that we’re on. It takes time and patience and spectacular people and a massive market opportunity to build the real companies that matter and have an influence and great impact on society.”

“Assuming people (young, high-potential) like that flourish, you have incredible loyalty, and they’ll stay with you forever”.

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5. Pitch In One Sentence

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“Your audience doesn’t want to wait for the ending. Tell them the big idea up front”. 

The first time Moritz met Sergey Brin and Larry Page they summarized their company in one sentence: ‘Google organizes the world’s information and makes it accessible to everyone’.

Entrepreneurs who cannot express themselves in one sentence when they pitch Sequoia will be asked to go back to the drawing board until they can. 

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6. Yesterday Is Irrelevant

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“You can read a book about the principles of high performance, or great leadership, and it’ll all sound very straightforward and rudimentary. The difficulty is doing it every day, doing it every week, month, quarter, year, and keeping that beat up.

That was one of the great things about Steve Jobs, it’s one of the great things about Larry Page, it’s one of the great things about Jeff Bezos, or Reed Hastings. These are leaders who are capable of doing it.

They want to make sure that their product is fresh, that it changes with the times; that they never rest on their laurels, or get complacent; that they always have an element of insecurity about feeling that they can always get eaten by a competitor, and that past successes don’t mean all that much.

Because all of that is yesterday, and it’s irrelevant to the future”.

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7. Maintain A Fresh Team

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“Be able to field the best team at any one time, no matter how long people have been with you. To be not unfair, or ruthless, or harsh; but detached, objective and clinical about the performance of each individual.

No matter how well they’ve performed in the past, or in our case, how many successful investments they’ve made, if their heart is no longer in it, if they no longer have the burning desire to compete, it’s time for them to move on.

Bring in young people who have zest, ambition, energy. And then grow, in our case, our firm organically.

It’s not going out and hiring people who’ve had 30 years of experience in industry. We have hired people…who’ve had industry experience, but they still come to Sequoia at an age where they understand that this is a business that’s difficult, they’ve got to learn it, and they have a real drive to succeed. So it’s constantly refreshing the team”.

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8. Change With The Market

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” Stay alert to market opportunities. The world of the companies that you’re all starting today is massively different than it was 30 or 40 years ago, because of what’s happening principally in China, and to a lesser extent in other countries. That change is the face of global technology.

So about 12, 13 years ago, we started a business in China because we felt that, over time, it was going to be increasingly important for Sequoia, for the companies that we have investments in in Silicon Valley, to really understand the Chinese market because of what was going to happen there.

Thanks to the people at Sequoia in China and tremendous amount of hard work from a lot of people, we now have a thriving business in China”.

Helpful Resources:

 

Quotes by Michael Moritz – Sources:

1. LinkedIn – Best Advice: Listen to Your Inner Voice, published Feb 26, 2013

2. https://stanford.io/2TAakDo

3. https://www.inc.com/carmine-gallo/3-presentation-tips-i-learned-from-preparing-ceos-for-ipos.htm

4.https://blog.ycombinator.com/michael-moritz-sequoia-success/

 

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Welsh Wisdom For Business Growth – Terry Matthews

Nothing beats learning from those who have already been there, done that and got the whole wardrobe of T-shirts.

In this series we gather advice from successful Welsh entrepreneurs, bringing together their quotes and opinions, to inspire and guide you to ever-greater business growth.

Sir Terry Matthews

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Sir Terry Matthews is one of the best known figures in Welsh business. He co-founded Mitel, sold his stake to British Telecom, then built Newbridge Networks and sold it to Alcatel.

He heads up Wesley Clover, an investment management firm he founded in 1972, and has formed and sold multiple successful businesses, and invested in numerous spinoffs and start-ups. Current projects include the expansion of Celtic Manor Resort and the Newport-based Alacrity Foundation.

Business Growth Advice

1. Gather Customer Feedback

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“When planning to start Mitel I travelled near and far to learn about potential customers, their needs and feedback. I held round tables, took copious notes and made sure I let my clients know I was listening to them.

The notes I took helped Mitel produce more than what the competitors could offer and became the foundation for solid relationships”.

“If you don’t spend money on R and D, you will definitely die.”

Helpful Resources:

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3. Build A Network

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“Growing a successful business is all about building relationships – with the team members, with clients and potential clients and with the supply chain – not to forget government industry and export departments, banks, insurance and accounting firms”.

4. Stay Engaged With Your Audience

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“Produce quarterly reports in simple English to allow a wide audience to understand the business and your product.

All employees, family and friends, plus investors and potential investors want to know what’s going on and how their money is being applied and growing”.

Helpful Resources:

Continue reading Welsh Wisdom For Business Growth – Terry Matthews

Tech Tools For Business Growth – Part 7

The right technology can accelerate business development in many ways – from reducing overheads to increasing sales. 

Use our blog series to understand tech tool options for growth, and the advantages and disadvantages they present.

Part 7: Integration Software

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In our final Tech Tools post we examine Integration Software, which allows business applications and processes to work together automatically.

All-in-one software solutions are often not the best choice when growing a business.  It can be more beneficial to select the most appropriate software tools for specific company needs.

However, it is essential that different online platforms can communicate and share data together –  which is where Integration Software is very valuable. 

Advantages

Continue reading Tech Tools For Business Growth – Part 7

Tech Tools For Business Growth – Part 6

Tech tools can assist your business in streamlining processes, enhancing communication, improving sales and much more.

Use our blog series to understand the advantages and disadvantages of tech tools for business growth.

Part 6: Accounting Software

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Accounting software automates financial transactions, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, purchase orders, billing and general ledger.

Advantages

Continue reading Tech Tools For Business Growth – Part 6

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