I noticed this morning that co-founder Geoff Barrall is out as Data Robotics CEO. The VCs installed their own guy, who previously was head of sales and marketing at on-the-ropes Brocade.

Given Geoff’s banishment from the executive team and the lack of a “time to take DR to the next level” quote from him, it looks like he didn’t go willingly. Update: Geoff’s name is back on the executive team web page as of Thursday the 18th. I hope he and the company can figure out a role for him. Of course, if they don’t we may get an even more innovative company. End update.

I’ve asked a couple of those involved to comment and I’ll update this post if and when I hear anything more. My impression could be wrong.

The StorageMojo take
Founders can be an irreplaceable asset in building a company for the long term. But not all of them can be a Ken Olsen, taking a company from a $70k investment to over $14B in sales in 30 years of growth.

Yet even if they aren’t executive timber for the long haul, they can be valuable for a fast growing company, giving newcomers a cultural template and old-timers a touchstone in the midst of often mind-numbing change.

Like Dave Hitz at NetApp, Geoff seemed to be a great ambassador for the company and might have been a continuing asset – if the VCs wanted to build a major company. But given the sad state of the IPO market it appears DR is being groomed for acquisition – a decision Geoff might not have agreed with.

But when you take VC money you also, usually, give up control of your fate. It’s the Golden Rule: he who has the gold makes the rules.

Courteous comments welcome, of course. On an unrelated note the RSS feed should be working. Safari’s View Source option doesn’t show every character that Firefox does. Huh?