Little companies have really two advantages: Stealth and Speed.
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Sequoia
I have never been a fan of stealth as an advantage, but maybe that's because I'm built like a panda.
Here's what Sequoia partner Doug Leone said to Michael Arrington:
Little companies have really two advantages: stealth and speed. You [Arrington] come from the world of speed and no stealth.
The best thing for little companies do is to stay away from the cocktail circuit....We at Sequoia have never released a press release in 35 years....Then run like a son-of-a- gun. Don't say anything to anybody.
You can watch the full interview here.
Doug says Sequoia wants to be "the first business partner that a young entrepreneur has".
Which makes me scratch my head. How are young entrepreneurs supposed to find Sequoia before they find, say, YCombinator, if they don't work the cocktail circuit?
He expands on this in his book saying it's actually quite HARD to get people to steal your ideas because everyone believes their ideas are better. Not sure this rule is ironclad but I believe there is a lot to be gleaned from the concept.
Seems to me that the benefits from getting advice, mentorship and going viral outweigh the advantages of stealth more often than not.
Then again, Sivers also has an excellent TED talk about why you shouldn't tell anyone your ideas. Not because they'll steal them, but because it saps motivation.