The Iron Horse Insight: It’s on a random page on the Sequoia website, and it links out to a DropBox, but trust us when we say it’s a really good read even though it’s buried. We’re highlighting this digital misstep because this presentation was given by Sequoia in 2008 right before the financial crisis, and before knowing how long and sharp the downturn would be. After chuckling at the tombstone opening, go to slides 44-49 and 52, where it highlights the new realities, increased challenges, and a checklist for survival. COVID-19 might be new, but the way to think through and persevere through Black Swan events is well established.
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The Iron Horse Insight: Why Sequoia doesn’t have a blog on its website, is beyond us. We don’t follow the logic of that decision because what it posted to Medium about black swan events was quite insightful. We particularly loved the observation about how “nobody ever regrets making fast and decisive adjustments to changing circumstances. In downturns, revenue and cash levels always fall faster than expenses.” This sentiment rings true as does the guidance it gave to the founders and CEOs of its portfolio companies about managing through a storm of uncertainty. Cash runway: Do you have as much cash runway as you think? Sales forecasts: Even if you don’t see immediate exposure, assume your clients will revise spending habits. Capital Spending: review if your spending plans still make sense. Marketing: Pull in the cost of customer acquisition.
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