There is an interesting quasi-revelation mid-way through a Forbes interview with Sequoia Capital partner Doug Leone. The kids at Sequoia say they didn’t want to sell YouTube to Google:
So what happened with YouTube?
Left to our own devices, we would have kept on going. Maybe it’s
long-term greed. But the public market voted. They must have agreed it
has potential, because Google’s stock went up after the acquisition.
All the most successful companies we have seen at Sequoia–
Network Appliance, Cisco, Google, Yahoo! –in their private lives, someone put an offer in front of them. But they didn’t take it.
[Update] A few people asking in email whether I buy any of this, or if it’s just typical VC silliness. Well, sort of. While there is more than a little whiff of Tim Draper’s Skype-selling-saddest-day mad-hatter comment here, I don’t doubt that somewhere deep inside the Sequoia kids think they could have hung onto Sequoia and gotten even bigger. Whether they are right or not is a different question.