I co-founded Socialtext in 2002, and through eight-years of hard work pioneered the hottest category of Enterprise software. An old Estonian saying says “the work will show you the way.” And what has kept me going through this journey is great people and a continual source of new opportunities. As I’ve written before, startups always have natural transition points that help both you and them grow.
Starting today I’m stepping out of my day-to-day role at Socialtext. I continue to be Chairman of the Socialtext Board of Directors and will keep a desk at the company’s Palo Alto headquarters. Socialtext continues to execute under the great stewardship of CEO Eugene Lee. We’re growing, and not just market pioneers, but market settlers within a tremendous opportunity.
Thinking back, I’m most proud of our series of firsts. The first commercial wiki company, first to adapt the best of the social web for enterprises each year, bringing web oriented architecture and emerging standards like OpenSocial into the enterprise, SocialCalc as the first native Enterprise 2.0 application and the creation of a social layer across the enterprise. All these first were made possible by focusing on one of the most rewarding problems you can address — collaboration and sharing between people.
But this has all been Made of People. Starting with my co-founders Adina Levin (currently VP of Products at Socialtext), Pete Kaminski and Ed Vielmetti and all the team members over the years. The best customers in the business. And throughout the whole ride we’ve played a contributing role in the broader social software and startup community that always seems to give back.
At the core, I’m an internet entrepreneur who plays at the boundary between consumer and enterprise. Where work meets life. I see non-stop innovation in this space as connections increase, disciplines collide and technology is democratized — that can be applied to solve real big problems. Socialtext is changing the world of work with the things that come from life, and it won’t be the last company I start by breaking boundary conditions.
Four years ago I was the first person to get a demo of SlideShare and I’ve been an active advisor since. Over the past year I’ve been helping CEO Rashmi Sinha and the team with new products that move beyond helping individual professionals promote themselves, to solutions to problems for organizations. We’ve grown to 50M visitors, 150M pageviews and 3B slideviews per month to one of the top sites on the web with a uniquely professional community.
I’m joining SlideShare as their VP of Business Development. As their first executive hire beyond the founding team my goal is to grow the largest professional sharing community, cultivate a vibrant ecosystem, and help organizations connect to each through sharing. We’ve got a lot in store, and if you would like to work with or partner with SlideShare don’t hesitate to contact me.
Socialtext began with a simple insight that early consumer social web technologies could be adapted for the context of an organization. Now I don’t have to explain what a wiki is, but more why its the most widely deployed social software in businesses today. Now I don’t have to explain what Enterprise 2.0 is, but more how it combines with 1.0 to holistically solve real business problems. Now I don’t have to explain how a agile distributed startup works, but more the impact of broad access to the tools and practices of entrepreneurship. Socialtext and SlideShare are both changing the world of work in their own ways, and I’m excited for the work ahead.