We’re all heartbroken. There’s no two ways about it. Our troop is grieving. But as we’ve cried and hugged, we’ve shared. And laughed, as we celebrated one of the best men we’ve ever had the honor of knowing.
In the words of Adam Lashinsky, “You just don’t meet many people who are talented, successful, bright, kind, humble, and universally admired and liked.” And every word is true about our fearless CEO and main monkey, Dave Goldberg.
Over the past few days, we’ve been swapping stories about Dave. And for us, the portrait that has emerged is one of an incredible person: Brilliant, genuine, funny, magnanimous, generous, thoughtful, caring (did we mention brilliant?)…the list goes on and on with words to describe our all-around good guy.
His laugh was a happy and familiar sound in the office. Dave was our shining light and we were proud to have him at the helm of our company. As Mark T. from our sales team commented, “Dave was one of the major reasons I wanted to join this business, his reputation was, and is, unrivalled in my view. I have never seen a business demonstrate such pride and loyalty to its leader. Dave was living proof that you can be a good guy, and still get stuff done.”
Dave’s vision included building an incredible business, one that Tim C.H. of the product team heard about when he first interviewed with Dave over five years ago. He shared, “I first met Dave during my phone interview for SurveyMonkey and I was blown away by his vision for the company and its products, but also his vision for the culture. Like most early people who joined SurveyMonkey, I wondered ‘really, surveys?’, but he sold me on the plans for expansion and additional data services. He had an amazing product vision.”
While building the company, Dave wanted to establish a culture that he, and we, could be proud of. As Scott T. from the finance team shared, “they say the CEO’s personality shapes the company culture. I see that here at SurveyMonkey without a doubt. It’s a smart, high energy, positive culture with strong compassionate leadership. Dave greeted new employees with enthusiasm. It was clear that he genuinely cared about every employee.”
And we, the monkeys, care about each other. It’s in our DNA. When asked to describe our culture, Damon C. from business development commented, “In conversations with SurveyMonkey employees, you hear one phrase all the time: ‘how can I help?’. Those close to Dave know that he lived to say those words. We are a company that wants to help each other, we want to take ownership, we want to align with our teammates to overcome obstacles. This started with Dave and is a common thread that runs through our team. He wove so many good things in the fabric of how we operate, but being inspired to do great things with our team is one that resonates so clearly for me.”
We strongly believe that we are a testament to Dave’s excellent taste in people. And we’re proud to be monkeys, just as Dave was proud of us. Whenever she encountered Dave in our busy elevators, analyst Priyanka J. shared, “I could just sense how proud he was of the team, and the speed at which the business was growing. I have never before seen so much love, dedication, compassion and now sorrow resonate amongst a company or community like I have seen at SurveyMonkey. It makes me feel really proud and honored that I made the decision to work here, and it drives me to be even more determined to help make Dave’s dream for SurveyMonkey come full circle.”
And although Dave was a great leader, he was also just a kind, genuine guy who loved poker, the Minnesota Vikings, and the Golden State Warriors. In fact, Paul H. from the engineering team reported that after a successful product launch, “Dave knew that we, the Billing team, worked very hard on late nights and weekends, so he gave us courtside tickets to enjoy a Warriors game. I’ve been working in Silicon Valley for 20+ years. And Dave is the most generous CEO I have ever worked with.”
Dave also loved practical jokes. While he played many himself, we did all we could to best him every April 1st. Brent C. from the revenue team recalled one April Fools’ Day prank where he manipulated the daily business report to include some really scary numbers. When Dave saw the report, “he came to my desk and asked me if I’d seen the numbers since it looked like a terrible day and we needed to identify the problems.” I said, “but Dave, it’s April 1st.” He said, “That shouldn’t matter it’s not a holiday and there shouldn’t be any year over year issues that would cause this kind of issue.” So I said, “But Dave, it’s April Fools Day.” And he said, “But that shouldn’t…” And then he paused. “Okay,” he said with a grin. “You got me.”
But beyond his commitment to building the business, growing our team, and creating a truly one-of-a-kind culture, at his core, Dave had one priority: his family. During the lunch Dave held for all new employees (even as rapidly as we’ve grown, he insisted) marketing team member Aliza E. shared that, as it often did, the conversation turned to music. When asked which concert he’d last attended, Dave lamented that his concert-going frequency had dwindled from weekly to a few times per year since he became a dad. Just thinking about his kids, his eyes lit up and a grin spread across his face; he was taking his kids to their first concert that week—he couldn’t wait. “Which concert?” she asked. “U2,” he beamed.
And that commitment to family was something he wanted for all of us. It’s how he convinced Selina, our President and CTO to join the troop. She shared, “Dave led by example. He led by being a compassionate, empathetic human being, who showed me how I could balance my amazing job and my amazing kids.” It’s a sentiment shared by Apala S. from our program design team who shared, “At SurveyMonkey, female employees are equally valued and working mothers are not hit by a maternal wall. I am happy and proud that I joined SurveyMonkey.”
We’re all proud. Proud to be Monkeys. Proud of what we’ve built under Dave’s guidance. Proud of what we’ll build in his honor. And above all else, proud to have known the one and only Dave Goldberg.
In the words of our friend, Kara Swisher, “it was hard not to feel affection for someone who was such a mensch. That is exactly the word you would use to describe Dave—a Yiddish term that means a person of integrity and honor, a stand-up guy, someone to admire and emulate, a rock of humanity.”
We’ve all got a Dave story. And telling those stories have helped us cope. Your words have meant the world to us. We know they’d have meant the world to Dave. He loved hearing from and connecting with our customers—like he did here when we answered our one millionth customer email.
So, please, keep sharing with us. We would love to hear your stories on Facebook or here on the blog. It will help our hearts heal.
We love you, main monkey Dave. We will make you proud.