Dave Hodson
Dave Hodson On the Startup Spirit of Microsoft Silicon Valley

Dave Hodson grew up in Silicon Valley and started writing code at the age of ten simply because he “liked to make stuff.” By the age of 13, his mother was driving him back and forth to his first job as a game tester. For Dave, a career in startups seemed inevitable.

In the mid-90s, Dave co-founded e-commerce site iPrint.com and took it public in 2001. Continuing on as an entrepreneur, Dave co-founded MessageCast, which syndicated RSS via SMS for companies like Fox Sports. MessageCast was acquired by Microsoft in 2005.

Dave explains, “I wanted to see through the transition of my team into Microsoft, but I had no real plans to stay for the long term. It seemed only natural that I’d start another company.”

After more than ten years working in the startup world, Dave initially found it challenging to be at a large company. But he notes, “At some point I started to notice all of the opportunities around me at Microsoft.”

Following Microsoft’s acquisition of health search start-up MedStory, Dave was brought in to run their engineering efforts, including Development, Test and Operations. He reflects, “By working with another newly acquired company at Microsoft Silicon Valley, I still got to experience all of the crazy aspirational goals of a startup while being part of a large company.”

From there Dave moved to the Bing/Yahoo! integration. While at Bing, Dave managed the Bing Social Platform efforts, which included the data pipe from Twitter and Facebook: something that he says “would be very unlikely at a smaller company.” Dave smiles “As a ‘scale geek,’ it was an awesome opportunity.”

At the start of 2012, Dave moved to Skype, Microsoft’s largest acquisition to date. He says, “Every acquisition I work on presents a new business with a different culture and challenges. I am always learning and each experience is new and exciting. I never imagined I’d get to work with a VoIP company experiencing such unprecedented viral growth.”

Dave maintains close ties to the startup community through his mentoring work with Stanford’s StartX incubator. Even though Dave had always assumed he’d be back at a startup by now, he explains, “I’m still here because there are a lot of exciting opportunities at Microsoft Silicon Valley.”

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