"And while we are sad to see Gabor go, his departure is a big opportunity for Xobni." It's spin to present the loss of a technical founder as an opportunity. The fact that they couldn't keep him in a CTO role, distinct from a VP of Engineering role, speaks volumes. And it's an insult to characterize it as an "opportunity."
The blog entry goes on to list requirements for the new VP "The right person will:
champion our engineering ethos, [CTO]
deliver a fantastic product, [product manager]
on-time. [product manager]
be an able manager [vp engineering]
who excels at rapid company growth. [vp engineering]
know how to ship desktop software [product manager]
know how to add or remove process [CEO]
> on-time. [product manager]
> know how to ship desktop software [product manager]
No, no, hell no.
Product managers define what they think the customer wants (scope creep). Project managers get something that is good enough out of the door (scope supression).
It's possible for one person to do both jobs, but that doesn't make them the same thing.
Brilliant, speaking as someone who has worn both hats at different times, that is the dichotomy in a nutshell.
"Why wouldn’t Cselle wait for his payday and then jump ship to start his own company" -- have you considered the possibility that the human spirit does not run on cash and reason alone? That it's not implausible to leave money on the table and gamble on something new, for the sake of happiness and passion?
"Cselle likely wants his own shot at glory, and because of Xobni’s quick rise to success, members of the team may believe that launching a startup is far easier than it really is." -- Why jump to conclude that this move is egotistical and naive?
I'm also leaving my present company (in a minority shareholder, VP role) just a couple weeks after Gabor -- mid-September. It's well-funded (not a tech company so not relevant to Techcrunch) and has excellent prospects in a massive and growing industry. When I leave, I am going to be rather poor -- none of my shares will have vested -- and with few obvious prospects. It's the most gut-wrenching decision I've ever made -- I spent two years full time pouring my sweat into this thing on both sides of the world, making countless sacrifices. And business-wise, my efforts were not in vain -- the business is poised to do very well... but over the past several months, I too have found myself deeply unhappy with where I am -- disconnected with the energy that caused me to enter business in the first place, which was to express myself creatively _in leadership_.
If he feels trapped rather than emboldened in his current role, then all the power to him to seize back control of his life and try to make his dream work. I'm sure it hasn't been an easy decision for him, because when it doesn't make sense to outsiders, it probably doesn't make sense to the rational part of him either. I've found it almost indescribably hard to leave a great team working on an exciting, successful project -- especially when I know that my decision will probably not make a lot of sense to outsiders. But sometimes you have to go beyond rational economic outcomes and listen to the part of you that gives you meaning.
Better that, than become one of the countless people in the herd who has goals where his heart used to be.
To quote a certain edw519...'One day you realize that you only have x days on this earth and y of them are already gone.' Sometimes options vesting or even guaranteed money isn't the right path. It may be the easy path though.
I went through a similar situation, and I am still glad I did it. And these lessons are far cheaper in time learning when you can leave compared to when you have fully committed yourself.
Pretty canned response. I'd like to hear the real reasons as well.
In any case, founders and early stage employees leave on their own accord, or get nudged out, all the time.
I've been involved with a number of startups and have seen guys kind of forced out because of conflicts with the investors. I've also seen guys leave for totally random reasons - one guy was a co-founder and wrote 100K+ lines of code in a year, then decided he wanted to go back to south america to work on a ranch. However, the main reason I've seen early stage people quit is simply because they were sick of working on the project.
I don't think Xobni's there yet though.
Ps. I'd love to hear more on what happened. Maybe in few months, after his trip, Gabor will write some more about this, and the real reasons he left. Maybe we can all learn some more from his experience.
Wouldn't we all?
But I suspect all these people have too much class to give us the real dish.
It is a hard transition from a "scrappy start-up" to a more mature start-up. I could imagine at one point he is super important, in every meeting, helping direct the focus of every little thing, then as the company expands you get pushed out to the side a little and treated more like an employee. The fact is he was/is an employee, but it is hard to not think of yourself as a little more then that when you have had so much involvement for so long.