... and I'm really not all that upset.
A little over a year ago, the radio automation software company I worked for was acquired by dMarc, a small startup focused on delivering advertising to radio stations through piggy-backing upon the radio automation software. Shortly after being acquired, the previous owner (my boss) who was also the current president of the company asked that I work with one of the other product teams to get it on the fast track into the 21st century. The powers that be at dMarc decided they didn't like that decision and I got caught in the middle. This was the beginning of the end for me with this company.
Now there are obviously a lot of factors involved with my decision to leave, I'm not going to bore you with the details except for one. One of the biggest reasons why I decided to leave the company involved the fact that it was strongly suggested that I discontinue all of my outside of work activities; including blogging, user groups and other activities that went toward being awarded MVP. Essentially, as long as what I'm doing doesn't effect the company I'm working for and I don't share “sensitive“ information regarding said company; said company has absolutely no right to dictate what I do outside of working hours. Not only did I follow such a rule, but it amazed me that such a suggestion wasn't seen as being inappropriate. And this wasn't a “suggestion“ by my direct manager, but from the head of the company.
Today, an announcement was brought to my attention stating that Google is acquiring dMarc. I guess the polite thing for me to say is, “How exactly does such an acquisition make sense to Google and it's customers?” However, I'm sometimes not the most polite person. Essentially, from my perspective, dMarc purchased the company I worked for in order to essentially trojan a new feature to 5000+ radio stations. In order to facilitate this, they were “giving away” hardware and software in return for commercial time that is classified as “unsolds”. Again, not a bad idea.
From an investor point of view, all of this seems to be very cool. However, what about the end customers (the radio stations) and the end users (listeners). And in the end, how much of a return on investment will there be considering that innovation in radio delivery hasn't really changed significantly in the past 20 years. It's been about cutting costs. And with XM, iPod, etc. what is the future of radio? What about the cellular companies getting into the music business? Radio essentially won't go away since it's a good way to do broad reach delivery, but how much can they really increase the bottom line?
According to Google, “We anticipate that this acquisition will bring new ad dollars and accountability to radio by combining Google's expansive network of advertisers with dMarc's talented team and innovative radio advertising technology.“ So essentially Google will become a radio ad agency delivering commercials to radio stations into slots that weren't previously sold by the local radio station (or the ad agency(ies)) they currently use. How bullish will Google be in this regard? Will they attempt to push out existing ad agencies? Will they undercut them by such a significant amount that these companies can't even compete? From a more positive perspective, will Google be hiring voice talent to record these commercials? To me there seems to me more questions than answers... and there's a lot of money being thrown around giving the number of unanswered questions.
Anyway, I suppose I have a certain level of disappointment with missing out on working for the likes of Google. However, it was the right decision given the information available to me at the time. Maybe the powers that be at Google can come in and turn things around withing the section of dMarc that was previously the company that I worked for. It was sad for me to leave, but given the expectations of the new management it was something that I could no longer stomach.
Now, just out of curiosity, I wonder how much those (at the time) valueless stock-options are worth now that a sale has occurred. ;-) Then I might have a reason to really be disappointed, but such is life. ;-)
What is really kind of amusing to me is that a company that was very much against certain activities, which were the biggest cause for me leaving, is being acquired by a company that seems to promote the very same activities. Go figure.