Thursday, May 12, 2005


Ross announced recently that Socialtext closed a B round of funding. In classic Ross fashion, he did the counter-intuitive (and brilliant, IMO) thing and chose not to trumpet the details, instead choosing to let bloggers hunt them down. A Socialtext starter package awaits the first person to connect all the dots: happy hunting!

In related news, now’s probably a good time to share the news that I’ve left Socialtext and joined FeedBurner. This is no way reflects a lack of confidence in Socialtext’s future – indeed, I knew about the the funding round ahead of its announced closing, and it will ensure that the team has the resources it needs to extend its lead in an exciting market.

It probably helps to explain a bit about what I was doing with Socialtext and what I’ll be doing at FeedBurner. For the majority of my time at Socialtext I was in a pure sales role. While that was what Socialtext, as an early-stage startup, needed – it wasn’t really a clean fit for my background or skillset. I’m pleased to say that I helped bring some Fortune 500 business Socialtext’s way, and built relationships with some large organizations who are experiencing tremendous success with the product. Nevertheless, sales wasn’t a clean fit for what I wanted to be doing. As Socialtext moves into its next stage of growth, they’ll need someone who’s a pure salesperson. (They’ll actually need several people — they’re hiring, drop them a line.)

About a year ago, I blogged that I was checking out FeedBurner, and one of the founders reached out to me to ask about my experience. After a few messages we realized we lived just a few miles apart – not a surprising development when you live in the Bay Area, but shocking out in the Chicago suburbs. We met, kept in touch, and shared updates periodically. A few months ago, Steve let me know that FeedBurner was about to close a round of funding and would be growing quickly. As Steve spelled out what they were up to, and what roles they would need to add to the team, I got intrigued. Certainly part of the excitement was the locale — I’d join a team that all met in the same office. Of course, that means that I’ve swapped out a two staircase commute for a 35 mile train ride and a 15 minute walk each way…

The face-to-face interaction and energy I get from being around co-workers, I’ve found, is important to me. That’s not to dismiss the advantages of a home office — for the past 18 months I’ve loved the flexible schedule and convenient ability to share parenting duties from time to time — but there is a trade-off. (I’ll share more about this transition later after I’ve had more time to get used to it — in the meantime, just send happy thoughts to my friend Chris Casey, who also just resumed a commute and is finding it a tad rough. Fortunately I have several express trains to pick from!)

As I said, I knew Socialtext’s funding was around the corner, and am thrilled that it’s now closed. That means good things all around — and, ironically, an office for those based in California (Ross just started looking here.). While Ross made it clear that there remained an opportunity for me — virtually or in California — my growing ties to the community and desire to develop strong roots in Illinois, coupled with my interest in the new opportunity, convinced me that the time was right to switch gears.

The hardest part of this decision was committing to leaving a team of people I’ve grown to admire and respect. Ross, Pete, Adina, Ed, Brian, Chris, Dave and Sunir have built a strong foundation — both in terms of the product as well as the company culture. And though I came to find that I needed the energy from face-to-face interactions more than I expected, the fact is that in spite of our distributed nature we were cohesive and collegial. I still think Socialtext provides the best solution for organizations looking to work more efficiently and effectively together, and have nothing but good things to say about the product and the people. Give them a call already!

I’m excited about my new digs, and will be sharing more details in the weeks to come.

Update: Wow. Ross (my old boss) has nice things to say about me leaving, and Steve (my new boss) has equally nice things to say about me joining FeedBurner. I’m incredibly fortunate to work with such remarkably smart and generous people.


  1. Congrats on the new gig Rick, good luck with it. We miss you.

  2. Hey Rick - good luck with the new gig, we'll miss you. I've been a Feedburner user for my blog for a while and really love the idea of the product, you'll do well.

  3. Rick,

    Great news. As you will continue to discover the guys at FeedBurner are good folks and smart (pretty much like the folks at SocialText for that matter). A combination you should always be on the lookout for. And keeping entrepreneurial talent in Chicago is a good thing too.

  4. Rick,

    Best of luck to you - sounds like you've been a part (and will be a part) of some great teams!

    I know the feeling on the commute. I just recently moved apartments (out here in Phoenix) so that I could live about 150 feet from where I work. Not a bad commute at all =)

  5. So glad to hear that you believe you've found a great fit. Best of luck with the new job. And, hey, from someone who once commuted into NYC from the Jersey boonies, commuting ain't bad at all.