Sequoia etc. close barn door after horse

by Mathew on October 9, 2008 · 14 comments

It’s nice that the smart folks at Sequoia Capital are ringing the “good times are over” bell for their portfolio companies, as my friend Om Malik is reporting on his blog (other venture capitalists are sounding a similar warning, says Mike Arrington). My only question would be: Why the hell did they wait until now? The meltdown of the banking sector and the collapse of global credit markets is undoubtedly worse than many people (including me) expected, but it’s not as though it was a lightning stroke out of a clear blue sky. The U.S. has likely been in a recession for most of the past year, if not longer, and plenty of people have noticed. What were Sequoia’s portfolio companies doing up until now?

Seriously, though — isn’t it a little late (not to mention ironic) to be telling companies that they should cut their burn rate, refocus, etc.? They arguably should have been doing all of those things for the past six months, if not longer. Venture capitalist and entrepreneur Howard Lindzon has a good take on things on his blog, where he says the savvy players have already become as small and nimble as they can, and are preparing to look for opportunities. “Too Small to Fail” is Howard’s new motto. Silicon Valley’s venture firms may be just coming to that realization, but by the time you get one of those letters from Ron Conway, it’s probably too late. If you’re a Canadian startup and are feeling nervous, Jevon has some good advice worth reading.

Update:

Om has posted more details on the Sequoia meeting, with comments from several of the senior partners, including Mike Moritz and Eric Upin.

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