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SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg & Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg Gave Up Right to Privacy (not as Husband & Wife) but as CEO & COO

SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg & Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg Gave Up Right to Privacy (not as Husband & Wife) but as CEO & COO

May 3, 2015

16 Jul 2012, California, USA --- FILE PHOTO - Yahoo, Inc. named Google executive Marissa Mayer to be its next CEO, its fifth in five years. PICTURED: July 7, 2008 - Mountainview, California, U.S. - MARISSA MAYER, Google's VP of Search and User Experiences on the Google campus. Mayer was the first woman hired by Google, in 1999, and one of their first 20 employees. (Credit Image: © Martin Klimek/ZUMA Press) --- Image by © Martin Klimek/ZUMA Press/Corbis

16 Jul 2012, California, USA — FILE PHOTO – Yahoo, Inc. named Google executive Marissa Mayer to be its next CEO, its fifth in five years. PICTURED: July 7, 2008 – Mountainview, California, U.S. – MARISSA MAYER, Google’s VP of Search and User Experiences on the Google campus. Mayer was the first woman hired by Google, in 1999, and one of their first 20 employees. (Credit Image: © Martin Klimek/ZUMA Press) — Image by © Martin Klimek/ZUMA Press/Corbis

When Marissa Mayer was named CEO of Yahoo in 2011 she was initially heralded by women everywhere for breaking the gender barrier only to be later chastised for choosing to return to work (for what some deemed) too soon after having a child.  Selective tolerance is basically when one minority shames others often within that same minority based on personal choices or opinions and not facts. One woman may choose to be a stay at home mother and another may choose to focus on her career, neither is right or wrong and neither should be subject to scrutiny.

This may seem harsh but not everyone is meant to play in the NFL or be a supermodel and not everyone is cut out to be a CEO of a company (or understandably wants to be).  It’s not good or bad it’s just reality. To help give context a Victoria’s Secret Angel can’t sue the company if she gains 40 lbs. before the big runway show.  Sure we can cry that it’s not legal or unfair however, they knowingly and willingly enter into these contracts and are compensated accordingly for it. For that agreed upon compensation the employer has the right to define clear expectations; and, outside of that some expections are implied (perhaps spot lipo a few months prior to the big televised runway show).   Right or wrong it is a business reality.


A bra specialist working at a Victoria’s Secret in the mall can’t just jump up on stage and sub in for Adriana Lima in a pinch during the next fashion show.  The same holds true for CEO’s of companies.  There aren’t 40 people within the company that can jump up and do their job, sure there’s an executive team there for support but it’s not the expectation of the employer (board) that the CEO, the face of the company, passes of the reigns of the company for extended periods of time.  

When someone decides to accept the position of CEO their life in no longer 100% their own-they answer to employees (if they’re good) investors,  shareholders and in many cases the public (who are shareholders).  Accepting and or earning a CEO position has a different set of rules which are often unwritten but forcefully implied. A CEO is well compensated, the face of the company and expectations (just like the NFL player or supermodel) are clear among their peers.

This site focuses on fraud which usually starts at the top, where unethical and or illegal behavior (especially in startups) is encouraged, replicated and rewarded and is known as The Sociopathic Business Model™.    There are patterns in fraud and through forced accountability exposing the negative facts the unethical would rather remain hidden will create positive change while protecting patients, consumers, employees and taxpayers and is a goal of this site.

In the last few weeks we’ve seen Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon’s Acclarent CEO & VP of Sales arrested and indicted on 18 counts of fraud (positions held until November 2011) and Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Synthes CEO get arrested at church .  The actions of CEO’s who are the face of the company and compensated for it and have lost total expectation of privacy because they’re accountable to shareholders (the public).  Just like when Marissa Mayer caught heat for cutting her maternity leave short but she understood what was implied from her employer.


This weekend the high profile sudden death of Dave Goldberg, 47, CEO of SurveyMonkey  made headlines for the obvious and not so obvious where cause of death was not disclosed.  This may not be popular but not disclosing a CEO’s cause of death is unethical.   Mr. Goldberg is not your next door neighbor who died quietly in his sleep.   Every headline defines Mr. Goldberg as CEO of SurveyMonkey as well as the husband to Sheryl Sandberg COO of Facebook.

Goldberg died while on vacation overseas with Sandberg, who immediately returned to the United States.

It’s unclear if she returned with her husband’s body. There is no information about the disposition or location of the remains. Virtually nothing has been released about the cause of Goldberg’s “unexpected” death, or even which country the couple was visiting when he died. Whether or not he died on a plane, or passed away from natural causes, is unknown. “Natural causes” are not mentioned. Almost no one knew about Goldberg’s death until 12 to 14 hours after he passed away.  Breitbart

Frequent readers of this site will know that inconsistent & contradictory language to action is a trigger for The Sociopathic Business Model™. Their status as one of Silicon Valley’s power couples is being used to manipulate and shame the media away from doing their job.  While I personally feel for her and her family, sadly and realistically from the business perspective this is not a woman who just lost her husband it is a company that just lost their CEO.

Death and Succession Planning

When Jai Nagarkatti, CEO of Sigma-Aldrich, died of a heart attack in November 2010, his successor was announced the next day. Rakesh Sachdev, chief financial officer of the company, became CEO and at the same time was elected to the board of directors. By contrast, when Wendy’s International CEO Gordon Teter died of a heart attack in December 1999, the company did not immediately name a successor. Instead, founder and director Dave Thomas was appointed to oversee a fiveperson management council that supervised the company’s operations while the board searched for a permanent replacement. It was not until March 2000—three months later—that John Schuessler, head of U.S. operations and 25-year veteran, was promoted to CEO.

Sudden Death of a CEO: Are Companies Prepared When Lightning Strikes? Stanford Closer Look Series

The billion dollar blinders need to come off when it comes to startups and Silicon Valley; and, let’s not forget that despite Facebook’s success it was a company founded on fraud and SurveyMonkey’s CEO was literally in bed with a company short on ethics.

sontek 23 hours ago
Dave was an inspiration for people like me who work at SurveyMonkey and try to achieve a work life balance. He encouraged us to keep reasonable hours and to be home to spend time with our families and he did the same.

I wont try to speculate what actually happened out of respect for him and his family but I can assure you that he was not the standard silicon valley go hard all night type of CEO….In our area (Silicon Valley) it is common and expected to push hard and work long hours. It is an extremely competitive environment and unless you’re forced to go home most people work late into the night.

Not making an effort and letting your employees know that you don’t expect them to work nights and weekends means you are ignoring the societal norms in our field and most likely have engineers working their way towards burnout.

There have been many amazing things said about Mr. Goldberg’s character but none hold weight quite like someone who currently worked for the man.

Checklist-of-Characteristic-of-The-Sociopathic-Business-Model (1)

Dave Goldberg and Sheryl Sandberg (not as husband and wife) but as CEO and COO of million/billion dollar companies gave up certain expectations of privacy when they accepted their high power, high paid positions where they answer to shareholders or investors.   Is SurveyMonkey in financial trouble? Were they being investigated? Was he being investigated?   Did he take his own life related to work matters?  Sudden death without the disclosure of the cause is worse than if the cause was just disclosed.* If his death was finance related does it allow those on the inside an unfair advantage?  If his death was tied to the company he was likely a CE(N)O in over his head:

*CE(N)O Is an extremely underqualified (usually) startup CEO who previously never held an Executive position (or management position)*  hand selected by investors or VC’s who manipulate by creating unobtainable goals based on hypergrowth sales for a quick ROI and where valuations are high but realistic sustainable profits low (making a company worthless).   This is achieved by exploiting and manipulating the gratefulness of a startup CEO who is so desperate to prove their ability to the investors and the startup community that engaging in unethical and illegal activity is often not only encouraged, it’s replicated and rewarded from the top down. Startup executives blinded by millions, billions, and with reputations at stake will manipulate facts pathologically to the detriment of patients, consumers, employees and taxpayers all in the name of profit and ego.

*Skipping more than a few rungs on the corporate ladder is always a trigger for a CE(N)O Case Study or #GodOfFrauds

In December 2014 early investors of SurveyMonkey cashed out $250 million but the company is valued at $2 billion. Again, we learned last week with Secret Inc. closing its doors that what a company is valued at isn’t the same as what a company’s worth.  In January this site stated that this year we’ll see a lot of CEO’s in Silicon Valley unemployed or possibly behind bars. It may be all or none of these things; but, the lack of transparency surrounding Goldberg’s death breeds understandable speculation beyond the causal morbid curiosity in a town where fraud and unethical behavior is not only encouraged, replicated and rewarded, it’s entrenched in the Silicon Valley business model.

“I am very supportive of Hillary Clinton. I’ve said before I’d like to see her as president.”


Inconsistent & contradictory that Chelsea Clinton would comment but not Bill or Hillary Clinton.


While intelligence is equally distributed across the world, opportunities are not, Clinton said while visiting Kenya with his daughter Chelsea on a nine-day tour of Clinton Foundation projects in Africa.

This might be less about how Dave Goldberg died and more about who he was with and where he was when he died which again wouldn’t have been a big deal if they properly disclosed the information at the time of death.  It is shameful that all this needless secrecy does nothing but potentially mar the memory of an otherwise highly thought of man in Silicon Valley which was rare.

  AP source: Goldberg died after collapsing in gym

#PRSPin: It’s now leaked four days after Goldberg’s death that he died in Mexico working out at a gym. Really? The question is why would a family choose not to disclose that in the beginning as there’s no shame in passing that way and it would have ended speculation immediately while keeping the man’s legacy intact.  The lack of immediate transparency with such a simple explanation now comes at the cost of credibility.

*The questions posed are not facts nor are they speculation based on fact about Mr. Goldberg or SurveyMonkey, they’re questions pulled from online.

For More on Goldberg/Sandberg

Does Google Manipulate Data Sandberg Did Right #KillingMyCareer

It’s curious that two different IPs from Google back to back (likely bots) would tag “sandberg did right.” Is Google trying to push positive Sandberg stories to the top in SEO while pushing others to the bottom in SEO?  Unethical Google and Unethical Facebook certainly wouldn’t try to manipulate data would they?

Please remember this is a business blog that exposes fraud and not meant to demean or insult the relationship Mr. Goldberg had with his wife and children. My deepest personal sympathy is extended to Mr. Goldberg’s family and friends.

  • Anonymous

    Could he have underground in a foreign country?

    May 3, 2015 at 7:58 pm
  • I’m grateful that these questions are being asked on this blog. The mainstream media has failed once again to provide the public any information other than what’s emailed to their inboxes by highly-paid public relations consultants. While this lack of transparency suggests suicide as a possibility, a drug-related death might also be hushed up in this way.

    May 4, 2015 at 7:24 am
  • Robin Wolaner

    This is irresponsible and revolting rumor-mongering disguised as business commentary. For shame.

    May 4, 2015 at 9:25 am

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