Legends & Losers - The Podcast Silicon Valley Needs

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024: Inside Sequoia Capital, Entrepreneurs & Legendary Marketing with CMO Blair Shane

April 25, 2017

Building a business that goes the distance is a challenge for today’s entrepreneurs. What makes a good CMO, and how do they fit into building lasting businesses? How do you market a company as successful as Sequoia Capital? In this episode Blair Shane, CMO of Sequoia Capital answers these questions and shares her expert insight into the world of venture capital. She also talks candidly about how Sequoia runs and how she balances her work and home life.

We will have lost if the companies we back don’t transform the world. – Blair Shane

Takeaways

  1. A great CMO is someone who knows their audience inside out, knows their product inside out and puts together the right, integrative plan, to connect the two.
  2. You can only be as good as the next company that you partner with.
  3. If you want to stay ahead you have to be willing to change, even if things are working well.

We began this episode by discussing what being legendary means and Blair gave us her views on this, as well as some information about her background within the working world. Blair then went on to discuss everything related to Sequoia including what they look for in the people they decide to work with, and how they continue on the mission that their founders created by valuing teamwork over showmanship. Following on from that Blair explained to us what she feels Sequoia’s secrets to success are. We moved on to talk about why companies are waiting longer and longer before going public nowadays. Blair moved on to talk about how she markets brands that are already dominating their category and how she markets a firm that doesn’t want to market its own successes. We finished up by talking about what it means to be a CMO today and what category design means to Blair.

We also discussed;

  • The skill sets needed to be a modern day CMO.
  • What it’s like joining a high powered alpha workplace.
  • How Blair manages her work/life balance.
  • Generational transfer within business.

If you want to change the market you must have an idea that is based on a market need and you must not only have the ego to push and realize the full potential of the product, but also realize that you are not bigger than the product itself. It should be the idea that fuels you, not a desire for fame or wealth. The people that fit that bill can become true legends and category kings.

Guest Bio

Blair Shane is the CMO of Sequoia Capital where she is responsible for building Sequoia's global brand and helping to build the enduring companies of tomorrow. Previously to this she worked as the Associate Dean and CMO at Stanford School of Graduate Business. She is a results oriented, creative and resourceful leader dedicated to making a difference. With a strong background in marketing, strategic planning, and building team and a passion for identifying possibilities and making things happen. For more information head over to her LinkedIn page.

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