Mike Vernal of Sequoia Many hats are worn. Before entering the investment, he spent eight years on Facebook as VP of Product and Engineering. His portfolio includes Houseparty, Threads, Canvas, Citizen, Pictures and more, and he has continued to invest in companies across a wide range of phases and verticals, including consumers, enterprise, markets, fintech and more.
Vernal joined us in the early stages of TechCrunch: with a special focus on tempo, marketing and fundraising earlier this month to discuss how founders should think about product-market fit. He covered how to adjust around the pace of repetition, how to design with customer feedback loops in mind, and how to evaluate companies related to the Sequoia tempo.
Be clear and greedy on every single step with a way to get feedback.
What is tempo?
The vernal tempo breaks down into two distinct components: speed and consistency.
It’s not just about going fast (which often leads to some negligence). It has to determine the speed and stay consistent with that speed.
The best congratulations an angel can give to the founding team and be included in our introduction is, “They’re really really fast,” or “She’s a machine.” What does that mean? It doesn’t mean fast in the sense of uncontrollable, reckless, crashing. That means almost every kind of consistent, insane, one-bit-bit-more-better-way. And that’s really one of the top things we find, at least when evaluating a team: how fast they consistently move forward. (Timestamp: 2:26)
Vernal said tempo is directly related to goals and objectives and key outcomes (OKR). It’s OKR. It is important to create a feedback loop and determine the tempo from which to attack them, especially during the process of finding a product-market fit.
Finding a product-market fit is not a preventative process. Most of the time, it needs to be repeated. It needs constant adaptation. My mental model is that Dell is a turn-based game with really unfamiliar steps, and sometimes runs either before the clock or money or even before you finish the game. It’s like a game of chess. So what is your best strategy? (Timestamp: 4:25)
Feedback is your friend
As Vernal explained, finding a product-market fit is about feedback, and it must be an internal, internal part of the process. He shows how he can do designing with the outline in mind.