The Evening with Michael Moritz

At Y Combinator‘s Tuesday dinner event last Tuesday (2/23/2016), Michael Moritz came for a talk. It was deeply inspiring to see him in person, but it was even more energizing to see him still so ‘obsessed’ about his work at Sequoia Capital.

Here’s a brief excerpt from his talk:

That’s what, at Sequoia, we’ve always been focused on: How do we maintain a consistent level of exceptional performance? Most entities, most organizations are capable of doing it through a year, or five years, maybe ten years. Very few are able to do it over multiple decades. And I’m not saying that we’re exemplary, but we’ve worked really, really hard on trying to perform at an extremely high level.

How have we done it? It all sounds very, very mundane. 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.

Which is part of the reason we don’t have all sorts of lucite blocks commemorating this or that anniversary of some company hanging around the office at Sequoia: Because all of that is yesterday, and it’s irrelevant to the future.

Read (or listen to) the rest of the conversation here at The Macro.

A Focused Culture

One thing I’ve noticed going through Y Combinator was how consistent were the messages repeated by the partners, the staffs, and the alumni network. As a startup founder, you should do two things: “write code and talk to users.” The more recent version is: “build product, talk to customers, and exercise” – which I think is a natural evolution, since YC funds a lot of non-software-only companies these days and the partners are getting a bit older. 😉

The entire message is around “Growth” and the way to get there is by writing code and talking to users. And stop doing anything else. Sounds simple, right?

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That Extra Bit of Focus

‘The path of least resistance leads to crooked rivers and crooked men.‘ — Henry David Thoreau

Like water, our attention flows in a frictionless world. Real-time updates on social media, constant push-notifications on our mobile phones, and so many entertaining contents devours our attention little by little.

Attention, like time, is really a limited resource, varying perhaps among individuals, but finite as a person. One app might fight for your attention from the other. If you place the Kindle icon next to your Facebook icon, I can bet the Facebook icon wins your touch nine out of ten.

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Where the Grass is Always Green

When I was eleven, my family moved to the United States, due to my father’s job working for the Korean government. I still remember my first ride from JFK to some urban parts of the New York city. Still a bit jet lagged, I was struck in awe looking at the graffitis on the streets of NYC. I’ve only seen graffitis from the movies and the sheer unfamiliarity of the view somehow got me scared and excited ambivalently.

Taking a bite of freshly baked extra cheese pizza was a pleasant surprise to my taste and grabbing the oval-shaped ‘football’ for the first time got me all confused.

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