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The incredible career of David Goldberg

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I never realized that Sheryl Sandberg's husband is kinda derpy yet adorable, and also a super successful tech guy!!! I would have thought she'd be married to an uptight hedge fund manager or some such. Actually sort of a super inspiring story of persistence in entrepreneurship.

Poor guy is a "a lifelong, pathetic Vikings fan. I made my kids into Viking fans, so they will carry their misery with them, too. A little disappointment in life goes a long way."

Vikings fans know from suffering!

I'm not sure why SurveyMonkey is successful. They don't really go into that.

"It turned out to be this fantastic business with a great brand, incredible customer loyalty, super profitable business model, very viral ... and no team. Literally, there were 12 people there, seven were on the customer support team."

It was more than a little nerve-wracking at first.

"It was a little scary in the beginning because no one could explain to me why the business were working so well. The founders were great people. But it was too small a team to figure out how the business had gotten to be so big," he explains.

"So there was this fear factor of, oh my God, what if I do something up and screw up the business?"

Geez, amazing numbers:

Between debt and equity, SurveyMonkey wracked up about $1.2 billion in investment.

Goldberg said he used the money to cash out equity instead of doing an IPO.

"All the money has gone out to investors and employees," he said. "We made the conscious decision that we’re not going to go public just to get liquidity for people."

He adds,"I'm not saying we’ll never go public but we’re not going to do it just to get cash for people because there’s plenty of cash available in the private market these days.

"That wasn’t the case when I took my first company public and it wasn’t the case even five or six years ago. But today you can raise over $1 billion as a private company to get liquidity for people. That’s changed and makes it possible to stay private."

He did clarify that the company kept about $70-ish million of the last round "to have cash on hand to do an acquisitions" but insisted, "the founder, Ryan Finley, never raised any money."

From surveys to big data, SurveyMonkey seems to be thriving on other counts, too. From those early days with 14 employees, the company now has 500 employees, creates 90 million completed surveys a month in 60 languages and has 25 million customers, including those that use it for free.


Mr. Goldberg, who died unexpectedly on Friday, was a genial, 47-year-old Silicon Valley entrepreneur who built his latest company, SurveyMonkey, from a modest enterprise to one recently valued by investors at $2 billion. But he was also perhaps the signature male feminist of his era: the first major chief executive in memory to spur his wife to become as successful in business as he was, and an essential figure in “Lean In,” Ms. Sandberg’s blockbuster guide to female achievement.

Over the weekend, even strangers were shocked at his death, both because of his relatively young age and because they knew of him as the living, breathing, car-pooling center of a new philosophy of two-career marriage.


Friends in Silicon Valley say they were careful to conduct their careers separately, politely refusing when outsiders would ask one about the other’s work: Ms. Sandberg’s role building Facebook into an information and advertising powerhouse, and Mr. Goldberg at SurveyMonkey, which made polling faster and cheaper. But privately, their work was intertwined. He often began statements to his team with the phrase “Well, Sheryl said” sharing her business advice. He counseled her, too, starting with her salary negotiations with Mark Zuckerberg.

“I wanted Mark to really feel he stretched to get Sheryl, because she was worth it,” Mr. Goldberg explained in a 2013 “60 Minutes” interview, his Minnesota accent and his smile intact as he offered a rare peek of the intersection of marriage and money at the top of corporate life.

While his wife grew increasingly outspoken about women’s advancement, Mr. Goldberg quietly advised the men in the office on family and partnership matters, an associate said. Six out of 16 members of SurveyMonkey’s management team are female, an almost unheard-of ratio among Silicon Valley “unicorns,” or companies valued at over $1 billion.

When Mellody Hobson, a friend and finance executive, wrote a chapter of “Lean In” about women of color for the college edition of the book, Mr. Goldberg gave her feedback on the draft, a clue to his deep involvement. He joked with Ms. Hobson that she was too long-winded, like Ms. Sandberg, but aside from that, he said he loved the chapter, she said in an interview.

By then, Mr. Goldberg was a figure of fascination who inspired a “where can I get one of those?” reaction among many of the women who had read the best seller “Lean In.” Some lamented that Ms. Sandberg’s advice hinged too much on marrying a Dave Goldberg, who was humble enough to plan around his wife, attentive enough to worry about which shoes his young daughter would wear, and rich enough to help pay for the help that made the family’s balancing act manageable.

Now that he is gone, and Ms. Sandberg goes from being half of a celebrated partnership to perhaps the business world’s most prominent single mother, the pages of “Lean In” carry a new sting of loss.

“We are never at 50-50 at any given moment — perfect equality is hard to define or sustain — but we allow the pendulum to swing back and forth between us,” she wrote in 2013, adding that they were looking forward to raising teenagers together.

“Fortunately, I have Dave to figure it out with me,” she wrote.

sheryl sandberg Dave Goldberg Imgur

Sheryl Sandberg's Facebook post about her husband David Goldberg: "Dave was my rock."

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