Silicon Valley was shocked Saturday to learn that Dave Goldberg, the CEO of SurveyMonkey and husband of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, had died. He was 47.
His death has hit the community hard. In an industry full of massive egos and cutthroat competitors, Goldberg was widely beloved and revered as a genuinely nice guy.
You can see that in the heartfelt tributes that have poured out for him since the news broke.
At Re/code, Kara Swisher wrote a piece called, “Does Silicon Valley Have a Soul? It Did — as Well as a Heart — in Dave Goldberg“:
It takes a confident man to take what some would consider a back seat to his better known wife, but that was not the way Dave saw it. Instead, they rode together in the front seat in a way that was unusual and lovely … It was the same with this two kids, upon whom he lavished so much love and care and attention. Today, I have a vivid picture of Dave sitting in his kitchen working with both on homework before one of Sheryl’s events for women of Silicon Valley. Let it be said, I am not the most patient of homework-helpers for my two sons; in contrast, Dave was calm and helpful to them and yet not even slightly pushy as so many parents in the pressure-cooker world of Silicon Valley can be.
Adam Lashinsky in Fortune wrote:
Goldberg had an encyclopedic knowledge of the history and nuanced relationships in the music industry and Silicon Valley. He had a talent for explaining the relevant fact in business transactions that were more complex than they needed to be. He was a quiet “angel” investor in multiple Silicon Valley deals, both individually and through VC funds that wanted access to his smarts and his contacts … You just don’t meet many people who are talented, successful, bright, kind, humble, and universally admired and liked.
Dave DiMartino was the executive director of Launch Music, Goldberg’s digital music startup in the 1990s, and came with him when the company was sold to Yahoo. He wrote:
Music video on the Internet? He made an investment, brought in a company, led the pack. Internet radio? LAUNCHcast was staggeringly good, in its prime massively better than today’s also-ran Pandora, and likely the best personalised radio service anyone has yet to experience. Music on demand? Well before Spotify was making headlines, when iTunes was just getting started, Goldberg introduced Yahoo Music Unlimited — and, as pioneers do, suffered the wrath of those gatekeepers at record labels and publishing companies who saw their business models threatened … But more importantly, really, there isn’t a single person who worked here with Dave Goldberg, who watched how he would carefully and passionately explain some concept — business, technical or personal — to a co-worker who wasn’t quite getting it, who wouldn’t marvel at his warmth, humanity and all-around good-guyness.
Beats Music executive Ian Rogers worked with Goldberg when Yahoo bought Rogers’ company, Mediacode. On Facebook, Rogers wrote:
Dave took me out to lunch one day and asked if I had any interest in taking over as GM of Yahoo! Music (his job). I looked at him sideways wondering if there was a trick I was missing, and replied yes, I would be interested in his seat if he was planning to vacate it. He said, “OK then, SIT STILL.” He didn’t make promises, he couldn’t tell me what might happen or when, but he gave me the signal and asked me to trust him. Months later when he announced his departure he told me he couldn’t control what happened after he left, but he had done his best to put me in position. Then, once Yahoo! *did* give me the job, he called me immediately and gave me incredible advice. THAT is the kind of mentor Dave Goldberg was. Selfless. Always helping others to succeed.
Goldberg’s Facebook page has been turned into a remembrance page, with dozens more tributes there.
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