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Interview of David Smith May 2009
Ajay- Your blog at REVolution Computing is one of the best technical corporate blogs. In particular the monthly round up of new packages, R events and product launches all written in a lucid style. Are there any plans for a REvolution computing community or network as well instead of just the blog.
David- Yes, definitely. We recently hired Danese Cooper as our Open Source Diva to help us in this area. Danese has a wealth of experience building open-source communities, such as for Java at Sun. We’ll be announcing some new community initiatives this summer.
In the meantime, of course, we’ll continue with the Revolutions blog, which has proven to be a great vehicle for getting the word out about R to a community that hasn’t heard about it before. Thanks for the kind words about the blog, by the way — it’s been a lot of fun to write. It will be a continuing part of our community strategy, and I even plan to expand the roster of authors in the future, too. (If you’re an aspiring R blogger, please get in touch!)
Danese Cooper’s blog in October 2009
Start the REvolution without me…
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.