Today Dave Sifry announced (also here) that effective immediately he was stepping down as CEO of Technorati and turning over the reigns to the CFO, VP of Engineering and VP of Marketing while the organization continues its search for a new CEO. Dave will now take on the role of Chairman of Technorati's Board of Directors.
In full disclosure, I should state that I've known Dave for quite a long time now. Back in the fall of 1998, it was Dave who offered an email mailing list from his brand-new startup then called LinuxCare (with a capital C) to a group of people who thought we ought to have a vendor-neutral professional certification program for Linux. Dave was later involved with the process of hiring me into Linuxcare and giving me the freedom (and funding) to run all over the world getting people on board with what would evolve into the Linux Professional Institute (LPI), today the leading vendor-neutral certification program for Linux professionals. My involvement with leading LPI led to me taking a position with a startup named e-smith up in Ottawa in 2000, which was acquired by Mitel in 2001... and is how I wound up where I am today. I love what I do today and really have Dave to thank for a lot of what started me down the path that led to here.
So I've naturally been watching the growth and challenges of Technorati over the past few years. It's definitely done some fantastic things... and also had its share of challenges. I've had my own issues with the site redesign earlier this year. It has, however, provided us with one way to sort through all the zillion things happening out in the world of social media. Given that absolutely anyone can set up a blog and start publishing, how do you sift through all the sites out there to understand what and who matters? Technorati's attempts at Authority and Ranking have been one way to help with that. They will continue to be, but the other reality is that the space they are in, "search", is awfully crowded. Technorati was the first major site to really focus on searching blogs, but now of course Google and every other search site does that. Technorati's expanded its focus, but so have all the others. It's definitely an interesting time for them, I think.
As Dave says in his note, Technorati is a "revenue stage" company at this point, and a different stage calls for different leadership. As Dave writes:
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.
There's a definite difference in heading up a startup from heading up a more mature company. Kudos to Dave for recognizing - and accepting - that and stepping out of the way so that others can take the reigns and move the company he founded to the next step.
Best wishes to the Technorati team and to Dave for whatever comes next for both of them.