"I'm glad George is doing what he is doing." So said Sequoia Capital's Mike Moritz when asked about George Shaheen's unexpected promotion to Siebel's CEO post on Wednesday.
For those with short memories, Moritz, speaking at the VentureOne Summit in San Francisco, and Shaheen both sat on the board of Webvan, the now defunct grocery-delivery venture born in the dot-com heyday (a "fiasco," as Moritz put it). Shaheen was Webvan's CEO; Sequoia, led by Moritz, was a major investor. No hard feelings, though. Moritz didn't blame George; he spread it around. In hindsight, Webvan's failure stemmed from an expansion plan that was too ambitious, Moritz said, adding that the start-up should have expanded like a turtle, not a rabbit.
The sad memories still linger. Moritz said Sequoia's conference room looks onto a parking lot where Safeway.com and Albertsons.com trucks regularly drive by. Seeing the trucks still brings on a migraine, he joked. The booming success of Google's IPO last year, of which Sequoia was a major investor, no doubt helps ease the pain.