Sarah Friar? What’s going on?

Sarah Friar? What’s going on?

Right now Sarah Friar is famous and admired (by me as well). She could have become the CEO of any major growth company that was looking for a new CEO. Instead the decision she made makes me wonder about Sarah’s judgment. I went to the website for that company she’s joining. It seems a piddling little company with a 10th of the promise of Square. Even with her as CEO it doesn’t seem it has anywhere significant to go. Go and look for yourself.

Two years from now if you ask, “Who is Sarah Friar?” the answer will be a blank look, and then “Oh yeah, she used to be the CEO of Square. I wonder what happened to her.”

I looked further into her background and saw that she held responsible major positions at Goldman, then was Senior Vice President, Finance & Strategy at Salesforce. Then her CFO position at Square. What is someone with that background doing, taking a job at a no-name neighborhood organization company? It makes no sense at all.

In her presentations she has glowed with happiness and pride about Square. It’s hard to say that she was unhappy with that job. The only explanation I can see is that this is kind of a semi retirement for her. I googled an estimation of her net worth back in April and it was $57 million (more now). She obviously likes her current job and admires her current boss, but maybe enough is enough, and it’s time to live more simply. She’s only 45 though, so however I look at it this job choice makes no sense.



I’m going to keep an eye on that piddling little company.



It makes no sense at all.

I agree with what you are saying but some folks believe it is better to be captain of your own smaller ship instead of being a first officer.


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What’s going on?

My business partner use to say “Better to be the head of a mouse than the tail of a lion.” Maybe Sarah Friar does not (yet?) have what it takes to be the head of a lion. Maybe Sarah Friar sees something you don’t see. Maybe Sarah Friar got scared of SQ’s credit risk [my speculation].

Looking at Square it seems more a collection of products than a blockbuster like Nvidia’s GPUs or Mongo’s database. Maybe that’s what she has in mind for her new company.

I much prefer to invest in blockbuster products like ALGN, NVDA, and V which I believe have more staying power – sturdiness.

Denny Schlesinger


It seems a piddling little company with a 10th of the promise of Square. Even with her as CEO it doesn’t seem it has anywhere significant to go.

I disagree, Saul. I think Nextdoor holds a lot of potential for local advertisers. This is from last year, but the company at the time was receiving a $1.5 billion valuation in fund raising rounds.

Nextdoor, the neighborhood social networking site, raised about $75 million in a funding round, The Information reported, estimating that the valuation is $1.5 billion. The round was confirmed by TechCrunch.

This adds to the over $200 million that the San Francisco-based company has raised, dating back to 2010. Its last reported round was in early 2015 at a $1.1 valuation.


About 18 months ago the former CEO was projecting to have a 100M users by 2020. Could not find a recent and relaible estimate for how many active users they have now.

While not giving a specific number, Tolia told Adweek it has “tens of millions of regular users,” 50 percent of which use the brand’s mobile app. He said that 40 percent utilize the platform every day, while 70 percent employ it once a week.

“Certainly by this time next year,” he said, “we should be as large as Twitter. Two years from now, we should be as large as Snapchat. We think, ultimately, by 2020 we’ll have 100 million active users in the U.S. alone.”


I don’t know, I think this is a company to watch though.

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Round up of SQ analyst reactions to Friar’s departure:…

Kyoami, Long SQ


First, I think Sarah was GREAT at Square. She helped them do phenomenal things. But I don’t think Square is doomed without her and I don’t think her leaving is a sign of trouble at Square. From everything I saw from her, she’s scrappy, she loves the process, she loves serving the underdog, and most importantly with regard to this decision, she LOVEs community and bringing communities together.

That’s exactly what she can do at Nextdoor. Also, she can be scrappy again and almost reset back to where Square was pre IPO when it was the major underdog to all of these massive banks, credit card companies, etc.

A little more about her success at Square. I think she’s special, but I think a lot of people could have and will do great things as CFO of Square. They seem to have an incredible system in place thanks to Jack Dorsey, their board, company culture, etc which helps people be successful. I liken this to Tom Brady, a bad athlete with below average size, speed, arm strength, etc becoming one of the best quarterbacks of all time. Yes, he is definitely part of the equation, but so is his team and the system he has been a part of his entire career.

I think this could be a great thing for Square, a great thing for Nextdoor, great for Dorsey, and great for Friar.

This forces Square to stay on it’s toes and not get complacent. I think there’s danger in CEOs and CFOs staying together too long (reference Zuckerberg and Sandberg). It’s also a chance for Dorsey to continue proving his worth as CEO and help Square continue to evolve with a new CFO.

For Friar, it’s probably not about money, but if Square continues to succeed and become better after she leaves, that’s in big part, a reflection of her work and how she helped make the new CFO successful.

She can also pursue her dream as a CEO and fight the underdog fight again.


she wants a CEO title at a bigger gig.

She joins a small but likely high growth company.

“Steers the ship” in right direction for 2 years, proving her chops.

Then along comes big boy (girl) job opening she really prefers as CEO, and she takes it.

What SQ should have done was just make her CEO…whats-his-face could have just sat as Dir of the Board. Like Musk, he probably didn’t see that he should get out of his own way.

I am newer to SQ, but sure seems like a buying oppty.



Or she has the deep pockets of Goldman and is going to use Nextdoor to go on massive buying spree and take the company public in ways that you haven’t imagined.

Excellence is hitting the target.

Genius is hitting the target no else sees.

We will see if she is just excellent, or genius.



Sarah is great and maybe Nextdoor has a completely different vision that what they currently have - however - color me clueless on what makes it special?

It is yet ANOTHER social app that duplicates what a private FB group could do.

It’s counter intuitive to the larger trends I see - simplifying and consolidating versus segmenting our social lives.

It’s another profile another password and another distractant.

Sorry, the fact she left for Next Door (which may be popular in SF), leaves me puzzled.


It is yet ANOTHER social app that duplicates what a private FB group could do.

Well, yes and no. With NextDoor, neighborhoods are pre-defined and one merely has to select which ones to pay attention to. With FB, someone has to organize the group and define it and there is no control that the definitions will be well structured. This alone makes it quite different to interact with.


I agree that NextDoor does not have the potential of SQ. The NextDoor valuation in the last 2 rounds of funding (2015 and 2017) did not increase as much as I am sure the BOD would have liked. It seems that they want a leader who can get them to an IPO sooner rather than later and it was unlikely the BOD/investors felt the current CEO was moving the company to that point quickly enough.

The comments from analysts about Sarah are interesting:

-perception that “she essentially ran the company”, was “the public face of the company”, “the key instrumental force that built overall credibility with the investment community, ”among the best CFO’s in the industry", etc.

I would have been happy if Sarah had been named CEO of SQ, with Jack Dorsey continuing as Chairman (particularly since Dorsey is a part-time CEO). Sometimes it makes sense to have the CEO/Chairman roles separated and independent (think Elon Musk). No knock on Dorsey, but would have liked for Sarah to have stayed at SQ with an increased role.


Recent tweet from NextDoor. Showing a little of Sarah’s thoughts:

“Very rarely, a company comes along that has the ability to literally change people’s lives for the better. I’ve been an admirer of Nextdoor for some time, and I am excited to build a strong business and financial outcome alongside being a force for good in the world.”


stcwtchr: I would have been happy if Sarah had been named CEO of SQ, with Jack Dorsey continuing as Chairman (particularly since Dorsey is a part-time CEO).

No knock on Dorsey, but would have liked for Sarah to have stayed at SQ with an increased role.

Found this on line:
<<Jack Patrick Dorsey (born November 19, 1976) is an American computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur who is co-founder and CEO of Twitter, and founder and CEO of Square, a mobile payments company.>>

Observation: Dorsey, in his mind, IS the reason for SQ, it’s his baby, he’s the original owner, and he knows just exactly what needs to be done to make it more successful. Others can suggest, but if he looks at it as NIH, it is DIW. Period.

Others can advise, and ‘manage’ their areas of the company, but NOTHING happens that he is not 100% in line with. That is a major red flag.

Smart as a whip, he CAN actually be the brightest penny in the pile, but people working for him can fairly feel the chains around their own efforts. Whoever is brought on as Sarah’s replacement, will have to accept such. (Any takers?)

Been der, done dat, twice. In previous lives, I have seen the exact scenario. Great to work for a successful company run by a bright boss, along with other bright people, but can also be stifling knowing that nothing significant happens unless “The Man” buys in first.


Maybe a stupid question but is a CFO in a payment company not more important than a CFO in a company from another sector ?

is a CFO in a payment company not more important than a CFO in a company from another sector ?

Perhaps… but she is moving to the slot of CEO, not CFO, at her new company… i.e.: The leader of the band.

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Sarah Friar? What’s going on?

We have very little to go on. Her public profile, an impressive interview linked on this discussion board that showed Friar to be articulate, intelligent, and market savvy, where she comes from (SQ-CFO) where she is going (Nextdoor - CEO, whose annoying emails are like bread and butter to my neighbors, especially after IRMA), and some public statements about it.

Something at SQ didn’t suit her, or something in her personal life makes this work, or something at Nextdoor is pulling her. She wasn’t fired and we don’t have any signs of disciplinary issues. The nature of the change - from an apparently higher to lower profile company, suggests to me that something at SQ wasn’t working. However in the tech world, things change - remember Blockbuster (Netflix), AOL/Yahoo(Gmail), check your Blackberry.

Then there’s the very personal/human side - not so important to investors maybe - sometimes folks stop their corporate jobs to build boats, because, well, you only get so much time on this rock. Money stops helping at some point and fame is only useful today.




I was actually asking that because I was wondering how much impact a CFO has in a payment company in comparison to another sector (or maybe there is no real difference ?)

Just random questions going through my head.

Let’s not second-guess the lady too much. She has been wonderful at Square and has a lot of talent, and she wants to be a CEO. Square was apparently not moving her up fast enough, so she’s pivoting and going to a place where she can truly lead. Nothing wrong with that at all. I don’t like the idea that a woman should have to stay in the same place in the same job, and not reach for her goals. She is reaching for her goals, good for her!

Dorsey’s comments were extremely complimentary and I’m sure they will continue to have a good relationship. Beautiful. Good stuff.

Sometimes to get a better position in a company, you have to leave for them to know what you’re really worth and capable of.

Just a few thoughts.


I am optimistic about Nextdoor, and if/when it IPO’s, I will be an investor. It fills a niche between Facebook which is too global and random, Craigslist which is too competitive and cold, and Twitter which is too noisy and hate-filled.

The issues raised are local, community based (as opposed to FB which is more national and global), and it is less noisy. For example, if we hear a disturbance, Twitter is pretty much useless. You have to sniff around all the brain-farts in order to find anything of substance.

We’ve definitely gained more value from Nextdoor than from any other of the social media sites. Whether it’s material value, like free or cheap stuff for sale or recommendations for a cheap, reliable service, or if it’s through meeting neighbors who need help or share interests, or staying informed about community events.

Probably the biggest stamp of approval is the fact that my wife abhors social-media, and Nextdoor is the only one she uses.