David Sacks has pulled off a number of impressive feats during his career.
Part of the early team at PayPal, where he was COO for several years, Sacks went on to create a couple of other software companies, including the family history site Geni, which was snapped up for undisclosed terms by rival MyHeritage in 2012, and the workplace chat service Yammer, scooped up by Microsoft for $1.2 billion the very same year.
Sacks also created a movie production company, producing the (very clever) 2005 film “Thank You for Smoking,” based on Christopher Buckley’s 1994 novel of the same name.
All the while, Sacks was making early-stage bets on a wide number of tech companies that include Uber, Facebook, SpaceX and Airbnb.
Still, his many successes may ultimately pale in comparison with what he’s trying to accomplish at Zenefits, the high-flying HR startup that Sacks joined as COO in late 2014, because he “thought the company was just a terrific idea.”
Though Sacks saw a “generational company” in the making, he might not have anticipated the chaos that came define the company — or the regulations that came to be flouted. In fact, according to reports, the company was being managed so impulsively in many ways that by February of this year, cofounder and CEO Parker Conrad was forced to resign, and just 14 months after joining the startup, Sacks was appointed Zenefits’ CEO.
Clearly, it’s a role that Sacks is taking seriously. In the last six months, he has organized layoffs, offered severance packages to other employees looking to leave, changed up Zenefits’ board, and repriced Zenefits’ existing shares in a move that halved the company’s valuation. And he’s far from finished.
In fact, we’re thrilled to announce that Sacks is coming to Disrupt in San Francisco to talk about the company’s arc — from what went wrong, to how he has addressed Zenefits’ thorniest issues, to why, if all goes as planned, Zenefits will be known as a company that supports entrepreneurship rather than a company that prides itself on growing fast at all costs.
We hope you’ll join us for what’s sure to be a fascinating conversation at Disrupt. It runs from September 12 through September 14. Early-Bird tickets are available through today’s end.