Childhood & Early Life
David Bruce "Dave" Goldberg was born on October 2, 1967, to Paula and Melvin Bert "Mel" Goldberg. He was born in Chicago, Illinois but spent most of his childhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Dave came from an affluent family. His father was the associate dean at the William Mitchell College of Law. His mother, Paula, is a successful entrepreneur herself, having founded Pacer Center, which started as a place for children with disabilities in the late 1970s and has since expanded to many sectors now. She serves as the Executive Director of Pacer Center to this day.
Dave received his early education at Blake School in his hometown, from where he graduated in the year 1985. He went on to study History and Government from the prestigious Harvard University. He was an excellent student, graduating from Harvard in 1989 with a magna cum laude.
Dave was on the course of going for a law degree. However, just weeks before his admission in the law course, he had a change of heart and realized that he didn’t want to set up a law practice.
Continue Reading Below
Dave started his career as a consultant for Brian and Co. right after graduating from Harvard. He worked with them for two years and spent that time between Sydney, Boston and San Francisco. He liked his job but it was here that he decided that he didn’t want to be a lawyer.
After quitting Brian, Dave’s career took a sharp turn. From being a consultant, he became the director of marketing strategy and new business development at Capitol Records. Brian had no prior experience in the marketing sector but he had a deep passion for music, which landed him the job. He did a great job at Capitol Records, with new and innovative ideas that led to a meteoric rise in their sales.
Dave was instrumental in some of the most aggressive methods in which music has been sold by Capitol. He was the mastermind behind selling music with video games when video games went viral. He was also one of the chief strategists behind the partnership between Starbucks and Capitol. As a part of their deal, Starbucks sold a considerable number of CDs from their stores. The partnership lasted for an amazing 22 years.
In 1993, he quit his job at Capitol in the pursuit of creating his own company. He had some brilliant ideas about selling music, and with some monetary help from family and friends, he founded Launch Media in 1994. The basic idea was that, of the gigantic volume of music that was created in the USA alone, only a handful was airing on television and radio and the rest was getting buried. He wanted to bring out this yet untapped market.
Launch Media started as a monthly CD subscription, with live performances and interviews of musical personalities. The business model that Dave created was supported by the revenue that came through advertisements. Later, with the internet revolution, it started streaming music online and became one of the first companies to do so.
At the pinnacle of its success, Launch Media was estimated to be worth around 300 million USD. It caught the interest of the largest internet giant of the time, Yahoo!. However, when the internet bubble burst in 1999, the stock of both the companies came crashing down to less than 90% of their value. This devalued Launch Media drastically, and when Yahoo! finally acquired it in 2001, after more than a year of negotiating, it was for just 15 million USD.
When Yahoo! acquired Launch Media, Dave was also offered a position at Yahoo! He worked with the internet company for more than 6 years before quitting in 2007. At that time, Launch Media was the largest music and video website on the planet with over 60 million unique users.
After leaving Yahoo!, Dave served a brief stint at a VC Firm called Benchmark. He was there for nearly two years between 2007 and 2009.
Goldberg joined as the CEO of SurveyMonkey in 2009 and remained in that post till his untimely death in 2015. During his tenure, SurveyMonkey’s growth was phenomenal. According to the last reports, the company has had 113 million in revenue at a 2 billion dollar valuation.
The growth of the company has been nothing short of monumental. From only 14 employees when Goldberg started to over 500 employees today, SurveyMonkey conducts over 90 million surveys per month in 60 languages. It has also partnered with some of the biggest companies in the world such as Hootsuite, Salesforce, MailChimp, and Zendesk.
Personal Life and Legacy
Despite his meteoric successes over the years, Dave Goldberg is probably best known for his marriage with Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, and one Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women. The two met in Los Angeles in 1996 and got married in 2004. They had two children together and lived mostly in Menlo Park, California. Being one of the most influential and popular couples in the Silicon Valley, Goldberg and Sandberg redefined the concept of power couples.
On May 1, 2015, Dave met with an accident while he was exercising on his treadmill while holidaying in Mexico. He fell down and suffered a head trauma along with a lot of blood loss. He was pronounced dead after he was brought at the hospital. The news of his shocking demise seeped into the Silicon Valley and brought over a pall of gloom over it.
Goldberg’s memorial service was held on May 5, 2015 and was attended by the who’s who of the Silicon Valley. U2 front-man Bono and Hollywood star Ben Affleck were also in attendance. CEOs of major corporations, such as Mark Zuckerberg and Dick Costollo, paid their tributes to the jolly and full of life entrepreneur.