Jake Wood Was Once a Warrior, Then a Nonprofit Leader. Now He’s an Entrepreneur. Now He’s on a Mission.
John E. Wood, founder of Zendesk, the enterprise-facing SaaS software provider, has always believed in the power of the American dollar. That has not always been the case.
Early in his career, Wood was hired as a senior software analyst at the company where he’d grown up. Wood became friends with his boss, who happened to be the treasurer for the National Association of Manufacturers. After a few years in the business, Wood was called into his boss’ office for an unpleasant meeting.
“When he was done, the treasurer said to me, ‘I want you to think about your place in the organization.’ I answered, ‘Yes, sir. We’re doing just fine.’” By the end of the conversation, the treasurer had called in his friends at the company’s board of directors to pressure Wood to transfer. Wood declined.
“He said, ‘You have to move. You can’t stay here. You need to consider your future.’ And again, I said, ‘Yes, I can do it.’”
As the business grew, Wood’s bosses grew at Zendesk, and it seemed like everyone and everything was in turmoil. “My friend at Zendesk said they had to go to a new office because everything in the building was falling apart. And there were leaks in my office, people coming into my office. I was dealing with all that and I just couldn’t get over the idea that at any given moment I could be out of there and back to where I started.”
Finally, after about a year of turmoil, people began to look at Wood differently, and this made him happier. “I started to realize, ‘I love this, and I love the company, and now I get to do what I’ve been wanting to do.’”
A Year Later, the Company Is in Great Shape.