L.A. Now

Dave Goldberg dies at 47; Silicon Valley entrepreneur, husband of top Facebook executive

Dave Goldberg, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and the husband of Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, dies at 47

Dave Goldberg, a widely respected Silicon Valley entrepreneur and the husband of Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, died Friday at 47.

His death was announced Saturday in a statement from the company SurveyMonkey, of which he was chief executive, and in a Facebook posting by his brother, Robert.

Both announcements said that Dave Goldberg died "suddenly," but gave no additional details.

"No words can express the depth of loss we feel," Robert Goldberg wrote in his post.

Sandberg, who is the No. 2 executive at Facebook, dedicated her best-selling 2013 book "Lean In" to Goldberg.

"Having a true partner like Dave is still far too rare," she wrote. "While we expect women to be nurturing, we don't have the same expectations of men."

Goldberg is credited with building SurveyMonkey, which he joined in 2009, from a small company to one that attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in venture capital. The company offers online tools for making surveys.

He previously worked for Capitol Records and Yahoo in Los Angeles, and he co-founded advertiser-supported Launch Media, which distributed information to music fans.

Sandberg, whose worth has been estimated at more than $1 billion, said in her book that she and her husband strove to take equally balanced roles in their family life.

In a 2013 Times interview, Goldberg said they met in 1996 when both were working in Los Angeles. "We went out to dinner and a movie and hit it off," he said. "She fell asleep on my shoulder, which I thought was great.

"Turns out, I learned much later, she sleeps through every movie, on any shoulder available, but it worked on me at that moment in time."

They didn't start formally dating until 2002 and were married in 2004. They have two children, a son and a daughter.

Goldberg is also survived by his mother, Paula Goldberg.

In "Lean In" — which examines the dominance of men in high-ranking corporate positions and gives women advice on how to overcome obstacles to promotion — Sandberg credits Goldberg with cluing her in to women-friendly policies that even she hadn't thought of. An example: designated parking for pregnant employees near building entrances, a benefit that's now found at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park.

Goldberg said in The Times interview that there were advantages to being married to such a widely respected and famous executive. "It is great having one of the smartest people in business as your partner," he said. "It's good with my team. I always say, 'Well, Sheryl said ...'"

But he did not take well to being called "Mr. Sandberg," even as a joke.

"I don't call myself that," he bristled in an interview last year with The Deal, an Australian magazine. "And I don't call my wife Mrs. Goldberg, either."

He was born Oct. 2, 1967, in Minneapolis, where his father was a law school professor. He graduated from Harvard with a degree in history and government, according to an interview he did with Business Insider this year, and had planned to go to law school. But shortly before enrolling, he changed his mind.

"Sometimes the things you decide not to do are actually the biggest things to do in your career," he said in the interview.

Courtney Holt, chief strategy officer at online video company Maker Studios, worked with Goldberg in Los Angeles.

"I'm more shocked by [his death] because I thought there was much more he could contribute to the world," Holt said. "It's too young and too early."

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times