The Telling Life Lessons David Goldberg's LinkedIn Offers Each of Us

05/05/2015 04:28 pm ET | Updated May 05, 2016
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In a recent Facebook post, President Obama noted the late entrepreneur David Goldberg as someone who "embodied the definition of a real leader - someone who was always looking for ways to empower others." And indeed, evidence of this is abundant in merely navigating the plethora of heartfelt comments below. The president's post has become a veritable homage to the influence, respect, and regard for David Goldberg, the man.

David Goldberg embodied the definition of a real leader - someone who was always looking for ways to empower others. He...

David was also a contributing influencer on LinkedIn's Pulse where he shared some of his experience and advice. Within his LinkedIn contributions are glimpses of his altruism, wisdom, and commitment to others. Below are some of his most valuable thoughts that transcend beyond work, into every facet of life.


Know your limitations, and surround yourself with others who help fill them.

David was a man who knew himself. He learned what he was good at, and what he liked to do. That self awareness and discovery commands aggressive honesty. Beyond that, however, is a willingness to fill your business and life with others who supplement it.

Ask questions of others to learn about them.

"To be an effective leader, it's crucial to develop a culture where employees feel consistently heard, and that their feedback is having an impact on the organization," David writes. Getting beyond the employee annual survey, he felt, was essential to truly learning about what people are feeling. Asking, "How are you doing," and surfacing a genuine answer, is equally as critical to working relationships, as it is to personal ones.

But don't ask the questions you're not willing to change, he reminds us.

Allow others to shape and grow you.

David wished he'd had more competition in his first business, because he had to create the market alone. The influence of others, competitive or not, can help you, he stressed. The attention alone breeds credibility for your ideas, and can drive you to be your best.

In the same way, what David was saying, is being competitive and influential is part of the entrepreneurial obligation to others, to bring out the best in them.

Develop employees from within, and they will become your most loyal and biggest culture champions.

In an article about hiring advice, David recounts his early days at SurveyMonkey. The processes and effort he put in around interviewing, tracking down, and calling real references. He reveals that banking on someone's past successes does not necessarily guarantee a repeat performance. What he said matters, is investing time and tutelage on the people you believe in, so they grow stronger from within. In return, they appreciate it, and tend to shower you with loyalty.

The real lessons about who we are and what's important happen after school and work.

A survey of David's Harvard Class of 1989 asked "If you could travel back to 1989 and explain your last 25 years to your younger self, what would that graduating senior have found most surprising?" Answers ranged from the necessary importance of family over career, to the rising influence of technology in our day-to-day lives.

But David's ultimate interpretation of the survey results were that some of the most important life lessons happen outside of school and work. His advice to all of us: "So get out. Live a little. Take it all in."

Quickly kill what's not working.

"Time, money and focus are very limited resources," David wrote about startup life. But as we've learned, time is perhaps the most unpredictable and limited of these. His words, therefore, transcend an entrepreneur's advice for startup business, and bear true well as in life: As quickly as you can, kill what's not working in business, relationships, and in life, to change course and pursue what fuels your purpose.