Sequoia Capital’s founder: We don’t choose people, we choose markets

If you look at the fastest growing companies in the world, especially in the technology sector, you can notice one common theme: they’re all riding a trend. Zuck realised that people will want to stay connected with their friends by spending the least amount of time possible, Andrew Mason spotted that people are willing to join other people in order to get massive discounts, Ev & Biz noticed there are a ton of girls who would like to stalk Ashton Kutcher. In theory, it sounds pretty simple.

However, I think trendspotting is incredibly difficult but pays off massively, if you manage to have the right team and the right product at the right time. Don Valentine, the founder of Sequoia Capital makes a similar point in a speech he had at Stanford a few months ago:

We have always focused on the market: the size, the dynamics and the nature of the competition. Because our objective always was to build big companies. If you don’t attack a big market, it’s highly unlikely you’re ever going to build a big company.

We don’t care if people went to school or how smart they are. We are interested in their idea about the market, the magnitude of the problem and what can happen if in fact the combination of Sequoia and the individuals are correct.

We don’t choose people, we choose markets. And once we choose a market, we choose the best product in the market.

I strongly recommend that you watch the entire speech (about 1hr long), when you get a chance:

I got the best Christmas present in the world this year

For the past couple of months, 40-50 of my friends have been secretly “cooking” me a Christmas present, led by my best friend in the world, Sabina (which some of you might now as The Girl With Her Peals On). Yesterday evening Santa delivered the video below, which I think is absolutely brilliant, as it involves two of the things I care about the most in this world: friends & video. Enjoy:

Thank you SO much Mom & Dad, Claude London, Lil Bulgac, Lucian Tarnowski, Loredana Gal, Sorana Urdareanu, David Abelman, Victor Anastasiu, Oliver Shapleski, Jeh Kazimi, Joshua Green, Thomas Hoegh & Arts Alliance, Teodora Poptean, Cristian Manafu, Alena Dundas, Vladimir Oane, Nicoleta Dragan, Ciprian Mocanu, Andy Young, Iulia Poptean, Ciprian Morar, Dragos Bucurenci, Alex Van Someren, Cristi Lupsa, Alina Gal, Jason Goodman, Mihaela Dragus, Hanna Ruth Wallis, Doru Mitrana, Catalina Rusu, Lea Bajc, Vlad Stan, Lippe Oosterhof, Brainient & Mihai Sava, Mihai Iova, Cristina Pop, Andrei Blaj, Misha Plesco, Kolea Plesco, Andrei Baragan, Andrei Soporean and, of course, Sabina.

Generation Y, Lives not Knives, Take Heart India and people that will change the world

One of the things I really love about London is that I meet tons of people that are really changing the world. People like Eliza Robeiro, who started Lives not Knives when she was 13 (she’s 17 now, I feel old), Lucian Tarnowski, who took over his father’s charity, Take Heart India, when he was 18 or 19, or the guy that I see daily on my way to the office, standing on a busy sidewalk in Covent Garden saying “Anybody lost or needs information?”, helping tourists get around London.

Big thumbs up to Albion London, Jason Goodman & co, Mike Butcher and Robin Klein for helping people like Eliza speak about what they believe in, through events like Albion Society.

The invention of the century. Really.

Seriously. I’m not kidding.

While most of us are struggling with full-time boring jobs that we don’t like, some people are changing the world. Really changing it. Saving millions of lives and making their mark. Challenging the status quo and approaching problems differently.

Today I discovered a TED presentation by Michael Pritchard, a british nano-tech scientist who invented, prepare yourself, the water filter that turns filthy water into safe, drinkable water.

I invite you to watch the video below. It’s mind blowing. It has vivified a whole new desire in me to try and change something and not get caught up with my daily (sometimes boring) thoughts and activities.

http://video.ted.com/assets/player/swf/EmbedPlayer.swf

You can find out more on http://www.lifesaversystems.com/.