Home Enterprise 2.0 Pioneer Ross Mayfield Leaves Socialtext for SlideShare

Enterprise 2.0 Pioneer Ross Mayfield Leaves Socialtext for SlideShare

Today co-founder, president and chairman of Socialtext Ross Mayfield announced on his blog that he is stepping down from his day-to-day duties at Socialtext and joining SlideShare as vice presdent of business development. Mayfield told us about the move: “SlideShare is obviously different but what it has in common with Socialtext is being at the boundary between consumer and enterprise, which is my favorite place to play.” Mayfield has been an adviser to SlideShare for the past four years. He will remain the chairman of the board of directors at Socialtext.

Socialtext was one of the first companies in the enterprise 2.0 space, and the first to offer an enterprise wiki. “Whatever your enterprise 2.0 / social business poison, our industry owes a lot to Ross for persistently questioning how we work,” Sameer Patel of the Sovos Grouptweeted in response to the announcement. We discussed Socialtext’s role in the development of enterprise social software earlier this week.

As president of Socialtext, Mayfield handled marketing and business development for the company. Mayfield’s new role at Slideshare won’t be entirely different. Mayfield was also the original CEO of Socialtext, a role he ceded in 2007. Eugene Lee is now the CEO of Socialtext. Mayfield’s announcement from 2007 rings true today as well:

As a company founder, as I’ve written before, it is inevitable and necessary that your role evolves for the best interest of the company and what you own of it. Today I’m invoking the most powerful inflection point I can for Socialtext.

“Ross is one of those guys who starts companies and grows them to a certain point and brings on other management,” says R “Ray” Wang, CEO and principal analyst of Constellation Research. “Eugene is now in the position of having to take the company is a bigger direction.” Wang doesn’t think Mayfield’s departure should be of concern to Socialtext customers.

Mayfield leaves the company in a state of growth, but is most proud of what he calls Socialtext’s “series of firsts.” From his announcement:

The first commercial wiki company, first to adapt the best of the social web for enterprises each year, bringing web oriented architecture and emerging standards like OpenSocial into the enterprise, SocialCalc as the first native Enterprise 2.0 application and the creation of a social layer across the enterprise. All these first were made possible by focusing on one of the most rewarding problems you can address — collaboration and sharing between people.

Although the company is growing, and has been a prominent thought leader in the space for several years, it faces challenges. It faces increased competition from both established companies like IBM and upstarts like Yammer. Last year in its Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace report, Gartner praised most aspects of the company but cautioned “Socialtext is a small organization with fewer than 100 employees that needs to do more to build its reputation as an enterprise vendor.” Earlier this week we commented that Socialtext needs to do more to scale its operations. Being first isn’t enough anymore.

What’s next for SlideShare? Mayfield hints that SlideShare will be making more of a play for the enterprise soon.

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