Welcome to Outlier’s Path.
Having spent more than a decade as an operator at LinkExchange, Tellme Networks, and Zappos, and then the last decade representing Sequoia on the boards of some exceptional and legendary companies, I have learned much from outlier founders. Outlier founders share a distinct mindset. They can hold opposing views in tension and pick a path forward. They can balance long-term thinking with immediate action. They dream about the dent they want to put in the universe, stay grounded in reality, and build a plan that connects those two worlds. This unique mindset is critical to building an enduring company.
Staying on the outlier’s path takes tremendous customer focus, creativity, innovation, risk, exacting standards, and non-stop work. Customers are incredibly hard to satisfy and constantly want something better in every business. The only way to build an enduring company is to improve your product, service, and company continually.
I started writing about company-building frameworks and principles that have helped founders stay on the outlier’s path about 18 months ago for two reasons. The first reason was purely practical. The dedication to company building was the primary reason for outlier outcomes, and I wanted to document some of the frameworks and principles that were helpful to founders in navigating crucible moments. The second reason was to share with Team Sequoia some ways we nudge founders to stay on an outlier’s path. Over the past eighteen months, this project started with writing for my personal knowledge base and then sharing them more broadly with Team Sequoia and Sequoia founders. I’ve decided to share these thoughts with the broader founder community.
For me, writing has always been difficult. I’ve often been told I could be a better writer. At the same time, one of my favorite quotes from Richard Feynman is, “You are under no obligation to remain the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, or even a day ago. You are here to create yourself, continuously.” So, thank you to my critics for the provocation to improve.
Through this collection of posts on Outlier’s Path, I hope to provide you with the provocation to get better at getting better and prove your critics wrong.