"You need to have big, Dumbo ears." – Doug Leone
Doug Leone undoubtedly is one of the great tech investors of his generation. As the Managing Partner of Sequoia Capital, often ranked at the top of Silicon Valley’s VC firms, he’s one of a handful of individuals shaping the industry.
You may not have heard of his past deals or current portfolio companies. He’s not the Sequoia VC who led the firm’s investments in Apple, Google, PayPal, Yahoo!, Whatsapp, or Instagram. But his investment in Nubank landed him a #12 spot on Forbes’ Midas List, the annual ranking of the top VCs worldwide.
An Italian immigrant who arrived in the United States at the age of 11, Leone likes to remind his auditors he had to work his way into venture capital. It didn’t just happen, he had to make it happen.
His recipe for success? You don’t know what’s coming. So you need to be listening to the weak signals.
“The biggest outcomes come when you break your previous mental model. The black-swan events of the past forty years—the PC, the router, the Internet, the iPhone—nobody had theses around those. So what’s useful to us is having Dumbo ears.”
Having ears on the ground means being connected to the entire ecosystem, from the tech leader with a vision spanning twenty years to the disgruntled junior designer who will eventually leave the company and found a successful startup.
How do you build referral networks as an Investor, or as a Founder?
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