CNBC Disruptor 50

Dave Goldberg was true disruptor, visionary: SurveyMonkey Exec Chairman

SurveyMonkey: Building a disruptor
SurveyMonkey: Building a disruptor

SurveyMonkey CEO David Goldberg, who died this month at age 47, embodied the idea of the tech disruptor, the company's temporary executive chairman said Friday.

"Dave was fascinated by business models. 'Disruptor' is such an appropriate term for Dave as a visionary and as a leader of this company. He loved taking all available information, synthesizing it and making just great business-model decisions," Zander Lurie told CNBC's Julia Boorstin.

Goldberg died on May 1 while vacationing in Mexico with his wife, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, family and friends. He collapsed while exercising on a tread mill, resulting in fatal head trauma and blood loss. His survivors also include two children.

Before he took the helm at SurveyMonkey, Goldberg worked at Yahoo and in venture capital.

Lurie said Goldberg saw online survey company SurveyMonkey as a data platform player that could disrupt a multibillion industry. This week, the company was named one of CNBC's Disruptor 50 start-ups, ranking 14th (Goldberg was aware of the company's selection to the Disruptor list— SurveyMonkey was notified in April.)

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Shortly before his death, Goldberg told CNBC's "Squawk Box" that SurveyMonkey had "moved from a great software tool that individuals use, mostly still at work, to being a platform that both individuals and enterprises are using, and we're building data businesses."

"He had this vision for building out SurveyMonkey into a data insights platform, which is what it is today, and that realization over the last six years is a big plan to take it to the next level," Lurie said Friday. "But he definitely was ahead of the curve like so many of the things he worked on."

Lurie is a SurveyMonkey board member and senior vice president of media at GoPro. SurveyMonkey has yet to name a permanent replacement for Goldberg.

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SurveyMonkey will continue to pursue Goldberg's passion for philanthropy through its SurveyMonkey contribute program, Lurie said. The initiative, which donates 50 cents to charity every time one of its Contribute members takes an opinion survey, has raised $6 million since 2011 for charities engaged in causes including animal welfare and youth programs.

"Dave will be forever missed, but the organization that he built and his legacy will be built and grown for a long time," Lurie said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to Zander Lurie as SurveyMonkey's interim CEO. He is serving as executive chairman on a temporary basis.