Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Taking your company to the next stage

I didn't comment on this when it occurred, but given my interest in music I certainly noticed it. MediaMemo:

The founders of Last.fm, the London-based Web music start-up CBS snapped up for $280 million two years ago, are leaving the company. No word yet on whom CBS will appoint to replace the founding trio of Felix Miller, Richard Jones and Martin Stiksel, or what any of the men intend to do next–though Jones did tell users that the trio planned an “epic farewell party” and “a much needed holiday.”

You can also see the original message from the founders in the last.fm blog.

In the Inquisitr, Steven Hodson noted that this is not all that unusual:

It’s not all that unusual to see happen in the tech world. Startups – well start up, they get some big buzz, end up getting bought by a company with big wallets (if they don’t deadpool first) only to have the people who started the company decide it’s time for green pastures. Such is the case it would seem with the founders of Last.fm who have announced that they have resigned.

And this behavior predates the Web 2.0 and dot-com eras, although it used to be that the original company would NOT get sold, but that the founders would leave anyway. If you look at Apple, Steve Wozniak removed himself from day-to-day responsibilities (although John Sculley claimed he officially remained at Apple), and Steve Jobs was effectively forced out of Apple - although, of course, he returned a decade later.

The one notable exception to the "founders exit" behavior was Bill Gates, who remained at Microsoft as it grew from a small startup to a huge software company. For whatever reason (perhaps his upbringing, certainly not his formal education), Gates had the ability, drive, and desire to manage Microsoft through multiple stages of growth.
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