Fear The Valley Of Darkness

Many among us are too young to remember The Stepford Wives, an early 70s movie and novel that chronicled the lives of once independent women turned mindless, follow – the–herd housewives in the fictitious cold coast town of Stepford, Connecticut.

Well fast forward 35 years and cross the country to Silicon Valley. If you agree with the premise of this outstanding piece by Tom Foremski in the Silicon Valley Watcher, a similar phenomenon has unfolded out west as it relates to the VC community. Tom is one of the smartest, yet most grounded (not to mention most approachable) journalists/bloggers in the game today. He shows it yet again with this piece. He’s also a pro in every sense of the word who understands the story is not about him, but about the companies, entrepreneurs, investors and yes, sometimes even the marketers who are making it happen in the tech community every day.

In his latest piece, Tom essentially takes to task not so much the folks at Sequoia Capital, but others in the SV VC crowd who aren’t exactly thinking and acting independently these days when it comes to funding and working with their portfolio companies through this current down cycle. Tom gives Sequoia their props for its considerable influence among the rest of the VC crowd. But he also shows he believes in the next upturn and is urging other investors not to follow the crowd and “act like sheep.”

Tom’s prescription for start ups and the investors that fund them is refreshingly simple:

Think long term – 2-5 years is what matters most to young companies, not what is happening right now.

Don’t just cut for the sake of cutting. Be smart about building your businesses and don’t get bloated in the first place.

It is a great time to be at start up because things will get better; those who have kept or increased their investments in their best people and invested in their brand – through PR, social media, marketing – will emerge in a much stronger position.

One can only hope that if entrepreneurs and their investors are looking to follow someone’s advice it is Tom’s.


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