Although I had some problems with the Plaxo model, I hate hearing stories like this. Sean Parker, the founder and visionary behind Plaxo was kicked out rather rudely by the VCs. I don't know the details, but it sounds bad.
I've founded several companies and as companies grow, the skills required to be the chief executive change. When I've founded (or helped found) companies in the past, I've usually stepped aside to allow someone with better administrative and sales skills to lead the company after it's up and running. This was the case with Digital Garage and PSINet Japan and to a certain extent Infoseek Japan. I seem to be the most useful getting things going, not running them.
In reality, though, a source said Parker has been locked out, and everyone at the company has been instructed not to talk with Parker, except by way of the company's lawyer, Ray Hickson.
When contacted and asked whether this arrangement is ``normal,'' Hickson said: ``I can't discuss a client personnel matter with newspaper reporters.''
Parker himself issued a terse statement: ``While the company is moving to a new stage of its growth, the management team remains committed to executing my original vision,'' he said. ``The company remains in capable hands.''
As a VC/investor, I've seen my share of visionary CEOs who can't run the company, but we usually try to keep them involved in some way and stay on good terms so we can invest in their next good company. I don't see how you can continue being a VC in the valley being cruel to serial entrepreneurs.
Pierre Omidyar of eBay is probably one of the best examples of knowing when to bring on a real CEO, but staying involved as the founder. I think he and his investors were smart about this.