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David O. Sacks

David Oliver Sacks[1] (born May 25, 1972)[2] is the former chief executive officer of Zenefits. He has been an entrepreneur, executive and investor in internet technology firms since the late 1990s.[3] As a result of Yammer’s acquisition by Microsoft in July 2012, he served as corporate vice president in Microsoft’s Office Division.[4] On December 10, 2014 he joined Zenefits, a San Francisco based startup company, as COO.[5] On February 8, 2016 he was promoted to CEO following the departure of Zenefits founder Parker Conrad.[6]

David O. Sacks
David O. Sacks.jpg
Sacks in February 2011
Born David Oliver Sacks
(1972-05-25) May 25, 1972 (age 45)
Cape Town, South Africa
Education Stanford University and University of Chicago Law School
Occupation Tech entrepreneur / investor
Known for Former CEO of Zenefits, Former COO of PayPal and CEO of Yammer
Spouse(s) Jacqueline Tortorice (m. 2007; 3 children)[1]


Early life and educationEdit

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Sacks immigrated with his family to the United States when he was 5 years old.[7] He is Jewish.[8]

Sacks attended Memphis University School in Memphis, Tennessee. He earned his B.A. in Economics from Stanford University in 1994 and received a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1998.[9][10][11]



In 1999, Sacks left his job as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company to join e-commerce service PayPal as its chief operating officer.[12]

In February 2002, PayPal went public, it was one of the first IPO after the September 11, 2001 attacks (ABCO went Public in November 2001). The stock rose more than 54% that first day and closed at $20.09.[13] In October 2002, eBay acquired PayPal for $1.5 billion.[14]

Sacks is a member of the "PayPal Mafia"—a group of founders and early employees of PayPal who went on to found a series of other successful technology companies. They are often credited with inspiring Web 2.0 and for the re-emergence of consumer-focused Internet companies after the dot com bust of 2001.[15]

The Diversity MythEdit

Sacks is the co-author with Peter Thiel of the 1995 book[16] The Diversity Myth: 'Multiculturalism' and the Politics of Intolerance at Stanford, published by The Independent Institute. The book is critical of political correctness in higher education and the consequent dilution of academic rigor. It "drew a sharp rebuttal from then-Stanford Provost (and later President George W. Bush's National Security Advisor) Condoleezza Rice," with Rice joining Stanford's then president in writing "They (the two former students) concoct a cartoon, not a description of our freshman curriculum"[17] and that Thiel and Sacks' "commentary was demagoguery, pure and simple."[18]

In 2016, Sacks apologized for two statements made in the book:

The purpose of the rape crisis movement seems as much about vilifying men as about raising 'awareness.'

But since a multicultural rape charge may indicate nothing more than belated regret, a woman might ‘realize’ that she had been ‘raped’ the next day or even many days later.

Said Sacks, "This is college journalism written over 20 years ago. It does not represent who I am or what I believe today. I'm embarrassed by some of my former views and regret writing them."[19]

Thank You for SmokingEdit

Following PayPal’s acquisition, Sacks moved to Hollywood where he produced and financed the hit movie Thank You For Smoking through his independent production company, Room 9 Entertainment.[20] The 2006 film won praise from film critics and was nominated for two Golden Globes.[21]


In 2006, Sacks founded, a genealogy website that enables family members to collaboratively build an online family tree. At Geni, he wanted more visibility into what was going on across the organization, so the team created a productivity tool to help employees share information. In 2008, Sacks and co-founder Adam Pisoni spun this internal communications tool into a standalone company called Yammer.[22] Geni was acquired by MyHeritage in 2012,[23] and Sacks continues to serve on its board.[12]


Yammer launched at TechCrunch50 in September 2008, winning the grand prize.[24] It is among the fastest-growing enterprise software companies in history, exceeding over five million users in just four years. The company raised $142 million in venture funding from top tier firms and is used by more than 300,000 companies worldwide.[25]

In July 2012, Microsoft acquired the enterprise social network for $1.2 billion.[26]

Angel InvestorEdit

Sacks has made early-stage investments in numerous startups including AirBnB, Cherry, Circle Inc, Secret, Eventbrite, Facebook, Mixpanel, OneLogin, Palantir, Pocket Change, ResearchGate, Sofa Labs, Scribd, SpaceX, and Uber.[27][28]

Awards and recognitionEdit

  • San Francisco Business Times 40 Under 40, David Sacks (2012)[29]
  • Workforce Management Game Changers Award, David Sacks (2011)[30]
  • San Francisco Business Times Bay Area’s Most Admired CEOs (2011)[31]

Personal lifeEdit

On July 7, 2007, Sacks married Jacqueline Tortorice.[32] The couple has two daughters and one son.[33]


  1. ^ a b "David Oliver Sacks". Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  2. ^ "Yammer's CEO Is About To Sell For $1 Billion To Microsoft, And Then Throw Himself An Over-The-Top Ridiculous Party". 14 June 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012. 
  3. ^ "Management - About Us". Yammer. Archived from the original on May 11, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-10. 
  4. ^ Mullins, Robert. eWeek (2012-10-30) YamJam 2012 Is Yammer's Coming-Out Party as a Microsoft Unit
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Herel, Suzanne (2012-02-22). Meet the Boss, David Sacks CEO of Yammer
  8. ^ Sarit Menahem (Sep 10, 2009). "Mapping the Family of Man". Haaretz. 
  9. ^ "PayPal: executive officers and directors". EDGAR. March 1, 2002. 
  10. ^ "Management bios". Yammer. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved February 17, 2011. 
  11. ^ Davis, Joshua. University of Chicago Magazine (Sept./Oct. 2007, Volume 100, Issue 1). Take 2.0
  12. ^ a b Thomas, Owen. Business Insider (2012-06-25). Meet The Yammer CEO Who Just Made Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars Selling To Microsoft
  13. ^ Kane, Margaret. CNET (2002-02-15). PayPal shares make strong debut
  14. ^ CNN Money (2002-07-080. eBay buys PayPal for $1.5B
  15. ^ Banks, Marcus. San Francisco Chronicle. (2008-05-16). Nonfiction review: 'Once You're Lucky'
  16. ^ "The Diversity Myth: Multiculturalism and Political Intolerance on Campus". The Independent Institute. Retrieved June 7, 2015. 
  17. ^ Bill Workman; Chronicle Peninsula Bureau (October 11, 1995). "Stanford President Condemns Opinion Piece / Former students ridiculed school in Wall Street Journal". SFGate. Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Taking aim at Stanford". Retrieved May 29, 2016. 
  19. ^ Bort, Julie (October 25, 2016) "VC Peter Thiel and Zenefits CEO David Sacks apologize for writing a book that downplayed rape." The Guardian. (Retrieved 10-25-2016).
  20. ^ Thomas, Owen. Business Insider (2012-06-25)/ Meet The Yammer CEO Who Just Made Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars Selling To Microsoft
  21. ^ Los Angeles Time The Envelope (2007). Globes scorecard Archived March 14, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^ Taylor, Colleen. TechCrunch. (2012-06-25). Memory Lane: Watch The Moment In 2008 When Yammer Launched As A Standalone Business
  23. ^ Lynley, Matthew. Wall Street Journal (2012-11-28). MyHeritage Raises $25 Million, Aquires {sic} Geni
  24. ^ Schonfeld, Erick. TechCrunch (2012-09-10). Yammer Takes Top Prize At TechCrunch50
  25. ^ Hesseldahl, Arik. AllThingsD (2012-02-29). Yammer Lands $85 Million Funding Round From Draper Fisher Jurvetson
  26. ^ Lardinois, Frederic. TechCrunch (2012-07-19). Microsoft Completes Its $1.2B Yammer Acquisition
  27. ^ Rao, Leena. TechCrunch (2011-11-08). Max Levchin, Keith Rabois And David Sacks Back The Uber For Carwashes, Cherry
  28. ^
  29. ^ San Francisco Business Times (2012-02-24). 40 Under 40
  30. ^ Workforce Management (2011). Game Changers Award
  31. ^ San Francisco Business Times (2011). Bay Area’s Most Admired CEOs
  32. ^ "Jacqueline M. Sacks (Tortorice)". Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  33. ^ Herel, Suzanne (22 February 2012). "Meet the Boss: David Sacks, CEO of Yammer". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 

External linksEdit