How To Spell “Sequoia Capital” Properly

First, if you didn’t know, Sequoia Capital are the guys who invested in Google, YouTube, Cisco, NVIDIA and a whole host of other exciting clients.

The problem is: It’s pretty hard to spell “Sequoia” correctly, being such a weird word. A google search for “Sequia Capital” will give you more than a 1000 results!

I reckon that the spelling is part of a filter. If you can’t spell it right, then your emails won’t go through. Perhaps they even have a Word macro at Sequoia that shreds up business plans with the name misspelt, as they come through the door!

I personally had to ask my friend and investor, Vinny Lingham how to do it properly.

Anyways, the spelling is pretty easy to remember if you’re a true geek. And the reason for this is simple: geeks recognize patterns.

So in the interest of spreading geekness (syn: awesomeness) here’s the Sequoia pattern:

1. Notice that all five vowels are present in the word “Sequoia”.

2. Start with the “Seq” (if you can’t remember this part, don’t bother sending your business plan to them)

3. You now have 4 vowels left; in alphabetical order they are: A, I, O, U.

4. Put them in REVERSE alphabetical order: U, O, I, A

5. Now add these vowels the “Seq” we discussed in point 2 above.

And there you have it! SeqUOIA

Disclaimer: I accept no responsibility for increased email traffic to Sequoia!

When Will Twitter Innovate?

On Twitter today, Web Goldenboy Charl Norman posed the question: “When will Twitter innovate?”

 (Watch this video if you’re unfamiliar with Twitter)

I suspect that Charl means to ask when Twitter will add more features, such as those seen in Plurk, where you can add pictures, videos and see responses to your ‘plurk’ (equivalent to a ‘tweet’). Each Plurk and its responses even has its own URL!

Let’s assume for the moment that Twitter does have ambitions to add new features. There’s one major thing holding it back: its own popularity.

You see, the moment a simple web 2.0 app like Twitter becomes immensely popular, it becomes extremely risky to change anything. Running a company that provides internet access to thousands of users, I definitely have become more innately conservative when it comes to adding new features.

New features have to have a really convincing reason to exist. I constantly have to force myself to keep thinking like the computer science student for whom anything is possible, rather than the businessman trying to make sure the service just keeps working.

I’d like to call this phenomenon “Feature Stiffening” (as opposed to Feature Freeze). And although I’ve sometimes experienced this emotion (because that’s what it is, really), I’ve managed to overcome it thus far by actively being aware of it when it attacks. But we only have thousands of users… not millions of users!

Millions of users use Twitter for what it is! And the moment you’ve achieved that, Feature Stiffening is a lot harder to overcome.Add to that Twitter’s well-known capacity issues and constant downtime, and you can see why innovation might be the most dangerous thing they could do.

Innovate or Die? What do you think?