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.

The Founders
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

The C-Levels
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.

7 Comments

  1. Anonymous May 25th, 2007

    It is not that ADT hired exceptional people, nor is it that exceptional people gravitated there. This mearly shows that ADT sat on, and did not properly exploit, the true potential of the resources in the market. These people got fed up with ADT, and saw how amazingly easy internet advertisement is, and were tired of being personally exploited.

  2. Anonymous May 28th, 2007

    you forgot at least 1 CEO/founder…Rob Poynter for Vinyl Interactive

  3. Anonymous May 29th, 2007

    who’s still left at Adteractive?

  4. Anonymous July 2nd, 2007

    Most of the startups are just me2s anyway. What is up being a founder of bunch of me2s that are in the bus of making some quick money and satiating their ego of being founders and C-level execs. Most of these guys owe a lot to the spirit that was in Adt -that of focus and entrepreneurship in the early days. None of these guys can put a candle up to Peterson and Diego … unfortunately where Adt is today is on account of certain inappropriate management tools imported from larger companies that have nipped innovation in the bud. Second, Peterson has been more relaxed and hence much more dangerous if he decides to come back in full vigor. Like one very well known luminary in the industry told me some time ago – ” We are not worried about Adteractive at all. They are not competition, as long as they are being run by current management. We will be scared shitless if Peterson and Diego enter the fray in that same vigor the early days.” Having said that, he looked around at his desk and touched wood. Adt will come back with a lot of vigor. They just have to rely more on the University of Hard Knocks than the MBAs of particular schools and the arrogance of the same that have caused the problems.

  5. Anonymous July 25th, 2007

    Hilarious. If you ever worked with Diego and Josh closely, you’d understand why they will never be able to scale Adteractive again.I’m glad to see that everyone has done well since they’ve moved on. I’m guessing their phantom stock paid off well enough for them to fund their new ventures.

  6. Anonymous July 26th, 2007

    leaving adteractive and finding a fulfilling job is the greatest thing I ever did- I am shocked that they paid me as much as they did to surf the internet all day… the food and drinks were solid as well! I am going surfing…

  7. Anonymous August 18th, 2007

    Interesting article, all the smart folks have left for greener pastures. That leaves all the stupid ones to pick up the 20 million debt from BofA Josh and Diego gauged from Adteractive.

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David Rodnitzky
David Rodnitzky is founder and CEO of 3Q Digital (formerly PPC Associates), a position he has held since the Company's inception in 2008. Prior to 3Q Digital, he held senior marketing roles at several Internet companies, including Rentals.com (2000-2001), FindLaw (2001-2004), Adteractive (2004-2006), and Mercantila (2007-2008). David currently serves on advisory boards for several companies, including Marin Software, MediaBoost, Mediacause, and a stealth travel start-up. David is a regular speaker at major digital marketing conferences and has contributed to numerous influential publications, including Venture Capital Journal, CNN Radio, Newsweek, Advertising Age, and NPR's Marketplace. David has a B.A. with honors from the University of Chicago and a J.D. with honors from the University of Iowa. In his spare time, David enjoys salmon fishing, hiking, spending time with his family, and watching the Iowa Hawkeyes, not necessarily in that order.