About 9 months ago, I started to seriously entertain the idea of moving on from Google. Over that time period, I talked to a variety of companies that are all doing interesting things. However, none of them got me really excited about leaving Google. While at Google, I have been blessed to work on some projects such as Google Books and YouTube that I feel are having, and will continue to have, a large impact on the world. For some of the startups that I considered they appeared to be reasonable businesses, but I felt that their impact on the world and on people would be modest at best.
This all changed, once I had the opportunity to start talking with the team at Nextdoor. When I first heard of Nextdoor, my first reaction was “oh, another social network.” However, as I spent more time with the team, started playing with the product and started listening to neighbors and friends using the product, it became clear to me that Nextdoor had the potential to be much more than “just another social network.”
Today, we live in a hyper social world where we are able to easily connect with old friends from high school and college and follow the thoughts and activities of people all over the world. However, in some way, we actually are less connected to those people that live the closest to us — our neighbors.
When you look back on American history or for that matter consider cultures from around the world, often the neighborhood and other local communities have been the center of our daily lives. But, with how busy our lives are today, we often don’t get to spend as much time with our neighbors and in many cases may not even know them.
Nextdoor solves this problem by connecting people with the people who live closest to them and acts as an online townsquare for the community. A friend who lives in Atlanta just told me about how their neighborhood used Nextdoor to help coordinate helping each other out when a big snow storm hit the city and my daughter just found two babysitting jobs. Today, neighborhoods across the country are using it for virtual neighborhood watch to track and prevent suspicious activities. These examples are just the tip of the iceberg of the ways in which neighbors can help one another using their Nextdoor community.
I also am excited to join what is an exceptional team at Nextdoor. The co-founders (Nirav Tolia, Sarah Leary and Prakash Janakiraman) have built a great organization and I am looking forward to joining them. That have created a strong engineering culture with some great engineers. I look forward to helping them take the organization to the next level.
There are still lots of hard technical and social challenges to solve. Like any social network, many of the challenges are about understanding the interplay between technology and user behavior to build a product that solves a real need in a scalable fashion.
Ultimately, I think Nextdoor has a great start at creating what I expect to be the next breakout social networking platform to come out of the Valley. I think Nextdoor is providing a unique solution to the problem of connecting us with our local communities. With over 100 million in funding from Benchmark, Greylock and Kleiner Perkins and a board with load of experience in helping to build companies such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, I believe that Nextdoor is primed to take advantage of the opportunity that exists today. I am excited to be joining such an exceptional team in this endeavor.
If you are interested in exploring opportunities at Nextdoor, we have lots of hiring to do. Just contact me at dan at nextdoor.com.