Some of you may have become aware of REvolution Computing, a commercial open source company organized around the R Language, when I joined in March of this year. For the past few months we have been working on a B-Round of funding. It was an interesting process and I was happy to be working in my first startup company after so many years in very large corporations.
We built a small team to work on "Community Engineering", by which we meant developing assets both to benefit the R Language community as well as to entice and inform the "Alpha-Geek" community to learn and use R. We set up an Advisory Board designed to advise REvolution management about decisions relating to REvo and Open Source, and we helped put REvolution R into the Karmic Koala release of Ubuntu. It was really fun to work in a small, agile team and I felt like I was getting a great education in startups and we were rapidly moving the company forward...Why didn't I join a startup years ago?
The funding deal closed on Wednesday last week...
Late the next afternoon I received a call from the new COO notifying me
that my services would no longer be required at REvolution., effective immediately and with no severance. Apparently, the company is moving in a different direction.
I was surprised that the new CEO, wasn't personally handling this unpleasant task...but I guess that might have been distasteful after the many assurances he gave me and my team last July at OSCON that we were "absolutely critical to the company's success" and that he would be "making no changes for at least three months after he assumed control". Personal courage in difficult situations is rare.
What I find most interesting about today's REvolution announcements is the space they spent thanking the previous management team, given nearly all of us, including the Founders and the Board, were just fired. 47% of the company wiped out and nobody left with more than a year of experience...Shit happens...
And so we begin to pick up the pieces and move on. I've spent much of the past few days consoling coworkers, personally breaking the news to the many kind friends who had agreed to help us increase interest in R and Revolution, and working out what I might be doing next. I have some interesting possibilities already, although I'm still open to suggestions...so stay tuned.
Meanwhile I can honestly say that the new REvolution Computing will little resemble the company I was proud to join and represent. I still think the R Language is really interesting, but I'm no longer sure REvo is the one to watch in this space anymore...For the sake of my friends among the remaining employees and shareholders I hope I'm wrong.