Earlier today, we noted that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is stepping down from the Starbucks board of directors next year.
But we kind of gave short shrift to her replacement, Clara Shih, who's the CEO and founder of social network marketing company Hearsay Social.
We won't make that mistake again.
This afternoon, we had a chance to talk to Shih about her new gig and the fast growth of Hearsay, which has grown its customers 6x since launching almost two years ago, has been cash-flow positive for the last year, and recently added former execs from IBM and Netscape to its fast-growing 60-person team.
Turns out, she's one of the most focused and driven entrepreneurs we've ever met.
Here's her story:
- She decided to become a tech entrepreneur in Silicon Valley when she was 17 years old and read a news story in BusinessWeek about the dot-com boom. She attended the same magnet prep school in Chicago that had spawned a bunch of earlier entrepreneurs who went on to PayPal, Yelp, and Palantir and from there went to Stanford.
- After graduating, she quickly moved between jobs at three high-powered tech companies: Microsoft, Google, and Salesforce (she also interned at Oracle). All were to prepare her for the dream of starting her own company.
- In 2007, she was inspired by the release of Facebook's social graph to create a little side project that would integrate Facebook profiles into Salesforce. She didn't tell her employer about it, but bunch of her Facebook friends installed it, and that drew the attention of a Forrester research analyst, who blogged about it.
- That led to a book deal. Her book, "The Facebook Era," explained to companies how they could tap into social networks to drive sales. The New York Times liked it so much, they wrote a two-page profile about her and the book.
- From there, she called her college friend Steve Garrity and convinced him it was time to seize the opportunity to form the company they'd always wanted to form together.
The cofounders went on to raise $21 million Sequoia and NEA, and have since turned Hearsay into a fast-growing success story.
Shih told us she's excited to contribute her expertise in social marketing to Starbucks.
But she neglected to mention that she once had a summer high school job at Fermilab, the physics research lab -- we got that from her LinkedIn page.
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