A Change in Seasons

If there's one thing I've learned during my time as CEO here at Technorati is that making tough choices is a daily reality. But some choices are tougher than others, particularly when they involve one's own self.

You see, I've made the tough decision to turn the reigns of the company over to other managers at the company. For those of you who follow Technorati regularly, you know that we've been conducting a CEO search since Spring and that it was just a matter of time before I made a transition. But searches such as these take time, especially in a market as frothy as this one, and I decided that rather than waiting for the process to play out, I would go ahead and transition to the board exclusively, taking on the role of Chairman of the Board.

As of today, Teresa Malo, CFO, Dorion Carroll our Vice President of Engineering and Derek Gordon, our Vice President of Marketing, will operate as a committee of the Office of the President, jointly focused on the day-to-day management of Technorati and achieving some important, very strategic milestones. This committee will report directly to our Board of Directors. And, of course, Peter Hirshberg will continue as our "rainmaker-in-chief", leading the continuing development of our Conversational Marketing initiative, corporate development and public relations.

Be clear: the board is still conducting a search for the next great leader of this great company. And I'll still be engaged strategically from the point of view of a director on the board. But I strongly believe this is the right team at the right moment to focus the company's efforts and get us to our objectives.

I've been doing startups for almost all of my adult life. And I LOVE startups. I love the teams. I love the sense of mission, and the fast innovation. I love building something from an idea - a whiff of air over vocal cords - into a real, concrete business with real customers and a deep and real sense of corporate mission. I feel incredibly lucky to have gotten the opportunity to do that with so many diverse teams and businesses - SecuRemote, Linuxcare, Sputnik, and Technorati. One of the joys is also being a part of becoming a "revenue-stage" company - a company with lots of real customers, where the demands on teams shift away from fundamental blue-sky innovation and focus much more into building great things for customers, reducing expenses, and making the business into much more of a revenue machine. It always strikes me with a bit of sadness as well.

Technorati is now a revenue stage business - we've been hiring up sales folks, as well as building much more detailed roadmaps and product pipelines. Customer-driven needs, pipeline management, operational management, and expense control are now a much bigger part of our life as a company than it was when we were running on a couple of servers in my basement.

Which brings me to my next big piece of news: today we also say goodbye to eight of our team members. Because we'll be focusing our efforts more precisely moving forward, it became clear we needed to adjust our expense structure to be more appropriately aligned with our priorities moving forward. So, we had to make the difficult decision to part ways with eight of our staff members. Undertaking this action was gut wrenching - all our team members are greatly valued - but was necessary to ensure the ongoing success and growth of Technorati.

To all who move on to great new things, let me just say: thank you. I value each of your unique contributions and I'll miss working with you.

I'm continually impressed by the strength and depth of our leadership team, and their ability to buttress my operational weaknesses with their verve, passion, and determination. I'm a lucky guy. While I'm turning over the reigns of the company I founded and love so much, I'm not going away. Promise. You can continue to keep track of me via my blog at Sifry's Alerts. Check in often: there's lots more to come!

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