Venture capitalist

Curb your enthusiasms.

By Jeffrey M. O'Brien, Fortune writer

(FORTUNE Magazine) -- MIKE MORITZ, general partner, Sequoia Capital

Twenty-two years ago Mike Moritz was a rising star at Time magazine when he quit his post to set out on his own. Today he's one of the world's premier VCs, with a knack for picking blockbusters. The man who's made billions for his firm on Google and Yahoo tells us how he does it.

"There are always many reasons for not making investments. Decisions based on impulse can be extremely perilous. But if you spend too much time analyzing reams of data, you become paralyzed and never make interesting decisions. When Sequoia invested in Cisco, it was perceived as a late entry. Same for Google. Yahoo was considered ridiculous. You know those two old guys leaning over the balcony in The Muppet Show? If you're in the venture business, you don't want to listen to them.

"We have a fondness for smart but perhaps inexperienced underdogs. I'd love to learn how to be an impeccable judge of character, but given the choice between cutoffs and sandals or cuff links and Brioni, we're going to take the first every time."  Top of page