2014 rank: 11
By Margit Wennmachers, partner, Andreessen Horowitz
Caryn is a singular person, an unstoppable force, and someone I have been lucky to know since 1993, working side by side at Blanc & Otus before cofounding The OutCast Agency in 1997.
Caryn can meet a founding team or an executive and instantly hone in on the essence of their story. She then creates endless ways to tell stories, each different and tailored for a specific outlet and perfectly timed as the company evolves.
Take Salesforce, where Caryn and Marc Benioff declared the end of software for more than a decade, establishing it as a force. They built the software-as-a-service category, rang the Nasdaq bell, and created a Silicon Valley icon.
Anyone in the valley knows a spokesperson can be a reluctant nerd, a rookie, or both. Caryn embraces whatever traits are on display, no matter how awkward or untrained. She leans into the person’s characteristics and peculiarities, and celebrates who they are, rather than drilling talking points into their heads.
Simply put, that’s magic. All of a sudden an awkward geek or a cynical skeptic gets excited about telling their story. The result is a real story, something the press corps are eager to tell, not a tweaked script that reporters have seen a million times before.
It can be tricky to have equally good relationships with reporters and clients and executives, but Caryn has built that trust and delivered on it for more years than the two of us care to count. That is her secret sauce. Based on mutual trust, she can have any conversation, with anyone. Everyone talking to her knows she will take it to the grave – and that is priceless.