Why Going Home At 5:30 Brings In Top Talent

SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg has been in the startup hustle for almost 20 years. So he knows how to build a long-haul (read: grown-up) culture.

Selina Tobaccowala was talented: She founded eVite—which still sends more than 3 million invitations per month—while she was at Stanford. Then she went to Ticketmaster and ran product engineering. Dave Goldberg needed her to do the same for SurveyMonkey.

So how did SurveyMonkey—then a small startup—land Tobaccowala?

"I was able to get her because she was four months pregnant," he says, and so she didn't want to do the sleeping-in-conference-room startup thing. She needed a culture that would fit her (grown-up) life. As Goldberg tells First Round Capital, he made sure to build one.

"We've been able to hire people that like that startup feel and environment," he says, "but also like the stability of a successful, profitable company."

That happy medium makes for happy employees: Tobaccowala's now had two kids since she joined SurveyMonkey.

Talent is long-term

"The business was really successful with 12 people, so with 200 people, people shouldn't be killing themselves," Goldberg says. "It's a marathon, not a sprint."

But you don't sculpt a culture through a slogan: Going home on time is Goldberg's way of showing that the company is in it for the long haul. Like many super-successful execs, he goes home, has dinner with his wife and kids, and then works in the late evening.

Goldberg didn't always have a schedule like this: He tells of nonstop 14-hour days when he first started LAUNCH Media back in 1994. The balance, then, is part of the growing up.

Bottom Line: If you create a company that encourages people to lead full lives, you can land a full roster of talent.

Watch the original video here.

[Image: Flickr user Liam Moloney]

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