In the two years I worked for Adteractive, I met a lot of great people. What has really amazed me, though, is how many of those great people have gone on to found, fund, or lead Internet companies post-Adteractive.
As you will see from the list below, out of maybe 150 ex-Adteractive employees, there are literally dozens of CEO and founders scattered throughout Silicon Valley.
Cesare Alessandrini – Founder, Company Name Unknown
Andrew Barenbom – Founder, TellAPal
Viva Chu – Founder, Company Name Unknown
Dan Ellis – Founder, Syndero
Sanj Goyle – Founder, LogicalAds
Vipul Gupta – Founder, LogicalAds
Saar Gur – Angel, numerous start-ups, VC at Charles River Ventures
Shane Holland – Founder, Tippit
Chris Lien – Founder, Marin Software
Dave Lukrich – Founder, Syndero
Mitch Liu – Founder, MyOfferPal
Jon Murray – Founder, Company Name Unknown
Burt Podbere – CFO, iPerceptions
Tom Soevyn – CEO, Focalex
Scott Sorochak – CEO, BookCrossing
Jay Webster – CTO, Blue Lithium
A pretty impressive list. And these are all people I worked with in just two years. Plus I’m not including any VPs (like yours truey) or all the other talented people doing other great things. And I know that I have forgotten several people who should also be included (if its you, its not on purpose).
My question is this: is Adteractive an anomaly, or is this just the natural outcome of careers progressing over time?
The first theory would basically suggest that Adteractive hired a bunch of highly-entrepreneurial people who used the learnings and contacts they made at Adteractive as a stepping stone for further successes. The second basically argues that *any* company in Silicon Valley is filled with future execs and founders, you just have to give people a few years to spread their wings.
In this case, I think it’s a little of both. Adteractive purposely (at least I think) hired people who had strong entrepreneurial leanings, thus it’s not a surprise that so many former employees went on to lead or found start-ups.
At the same time, every company in Silicon Valley today has some 25 year “assistant to the regional manager” that in five years will be running a VC-funded start-up. Silicon Valley attracts the smartest, most hungry people in the world, so look to the right of you and look to the left of you – one of those people may very well revolutionize digital media in the future.
That Adteractive is not a complete deviation from the mean serves to remind me of what a crazy and wonderful place Silicon Valley is today. I don’t think there has ever been a time in history in which having dozens of business owners and executives in one company at the same time would be concerned anywhere near normal. Twenty years from now I doubt such opportunities will exist. It’s worth stopping for a moment to breathe it all in.