Sheryl Sandberg joined Facebook in 2008, when Facebook was very small. She was instrumental in its meteoric growth into the global giant it is today. Many people are trying to put blame on her and downplay her work now, but her role and contributions over the years should be celebrated. She was a successful ‘integrator’ at Facebook, working with Mark Zuckerberg.
The EOS (Entrepreneur Operating System) blog defines an integrator as “…the person who is the tie-breaker for the leadership team, is the glue for the organization, holds everything together, beats the drum (provides cadence), is accountable for the P&L results, executes the business plan, holds the Leadership Team accountable, and is the steady force in the organization. The Integrator also creates organizational clarity, communication, and consistency; typically (but not always) operates more on logic; drives results; forces resolution, focus, team unity, prioritization and follow-through; is the filter for all of the Visionary’s ideas; harmoniously integrates the Leadership Team; and helps to remove obstacles and barriers.”
There is a history of visionary founders combining forces with integrators in Silicon Valley at hugely successful companies like:
• Sergey Brin & Larry Page with Eric Schmidt at Google
• Steve Wozniak with Steve Jobs at Apple
• Gordon Moore and Bob Noyce with Andy Grove at Intel.
This is not just a Silicon Valley phenomenon. Local Minnesota examples include:
• Justin Kaufenberg with Brian Bell at SportsEngine
• Ben Cattor with Alex Ware at Foodsby
And I speak from my own experience. Ryan Weber and I co-founded NativeX, and brought Andy Johnson on board as integrator when we grew. It was a difficult decision, but the right one. You can read about in this article I wrote for Wired.
Integrators can be instrumental in carrying companies forward by collaborating with the founders at the right time. A company can be started by ‘singular’ founders, and carried forward beyond 50-100 employees by ‘integrators’. This is why singular CEOs of more mature companies often have integrator COOs beside them. The reverse order does not always work; as remarkable as integrators are, integrators may not be successful founders. Could Eric Schmidt have founded Google? Could Sheryl Sandberg have founded Facebook? You decide!
But don’t forget to also ask yourself, could Zuckerberg have grown Facebook into the global success it is today, without the talented integrator Sheryl Sandberg?
This invite-only event has some impressive speakers lined up, and should be excellent for networking with local execs. Great North Labs is an organizer of the event, and Ryan Weber will be speaking. Request an invite here.
From the press release:
Digerati.org is a national platform connecting digital leaders with networking and education opportunities. The Digital Transformation Summit event is focused on digital transformation, emerging technology, and networking for Chief Executive Officers, Chief Digital Officers, and other CXOs. In a world where software is increasingly transforming the core of every industry, hard-fought lessons from the digital practitioners delivering radical transformation are indispensable to senior management at all organizations.
The event is curated and invite-only, and includes panels by some of the leading companies in Minneapolis. It will be held on July 25th in downtown Minneapolis. Invitations inquiries can be made on the event page.
Ryan Weber is co-founder of Great North Labs, a local early-stage venture fund that invests in upper Midwest technology startups. He previously co-founded NativeX, a Minnesota based ad technology and media company that he ran for many years. Weber is helping organize the digital summit, which he says will feature an amazing lineup of local digital transformation leaders who are building forward-looking, digitally-driven enterprises.
Among the list of leaders speaking at the event are Mark Ritchie and Gene Munster. Ritchie is a politician and entrepreneur who served as Minnesota’s 21st Secretary of State. Munster is a former analyst for Piper Jaffray, and currently heads Loup Ventures.
Bharath Lingam, CEO of [x]cube LABS, a leading digital transformation company and host of the event, said that digital transformation today is a highly visible and yet very misunderstood topic. The best way for enterprises to engage with the subject is to have “birds of the same feather” communities, where digital practitioners can meet with each other, share lessons from the trenches on how they’re solving their challenges and learn from each other. The Digital Transformation Summit is designed to accomplish exactly that.
The Digital Transformation Summit is designed to provide a great opportunity for digital leaders to network with their peers and learn from the best practitioners of the trade.
The event will also host access to a digital innovation experience area, where the guest will get to experience some of the emerging tech like deep learning, blockchain, virtual reality and sensors, hands on.
Brendan Cooper, Head of Digital at Panini and a past Digerati event speaker, has said: “The Digerati community is the best and fastest way to meet and learn from people practicing digital transformation. Success on the frontier of business change requires extraordinary insight from people that live on that frontier. This is where you get it.”
Digerati.org is a public initiative focused on evangelizing digital innovation in the Enterprise space. The organization is involved in publishing research and news on digital themes, celebrating intrapreneurship around digital and holding workshops and conferences. Digerati.org is also focused on creating user groups of Digital Leaders and Influencers that can meet up regularly to discuss and organize new initiatives.