LookSmart CTO Follows CEO Out Door

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I’d be surprised to see a single boulder fall; one would expect some other rocks to accompany it.  And now, in a business sense, that expectation has come true; about five weeks after LookSmart’s CEO resigned, the company’s CTO has followed suit.

41-year-old Michael Grubb left for “personal reasons,” according to an SEC form provided by Greg Sterling.  If Grubb was a skinny Hollywood socialite, that would probably signal an addiction or breakdown of one sort or another.  But Grubb’s got a lot of skills and knowledge, and it’s much more likely that he’s gone off to work for another company or start his own.

Care to see some evidence?  A second LookSmart/SEC document, also provided by Sterling, states, “Michael Grubb has served as our Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer since April 2005 and as our Vice President, Technical Operations since September 2002.”

It then continues, “Prior to that time, Mr. Grubb served in various positions at Akamai Technologies, a web content delivery service company, most recently as Vice President, Operations and Chief Systems Architect, from March 1999 to September 2002.  Mr. Grubb holds an A.B. in Philosophy from Duke University and a J.D. from the University of North Carolina.”

Obviously, the document’s a little outdated – LookSmart didn’t seem to know that Grubb was leaving at the time of the write-up – but you get the idea.

This development won’t make the job of Ted West, LookSmart’s interim president and CEO, any easier.  As a lowly tech writer, I can’t offer much advice, but I would warn him to look out for further signs of an avalanche.

LookSmart CTO Follows CEO Out Door
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  • Mark

    Your post paints LookSmart in a poor light but then again no one writes with complete objectivity when it comes to LookSmart. I can see how you might conclude the ship is sinking but it is not.
    It is clearly for sale. LookSmart offers great private label solutions including their AdCenter and Furl. Their verticals are now in use by the company who owns Network Solutions. Furl is used by NYTimes and of course ASK uses their AdCenter.
    They hire a venture capital oriented law firm over the summer so you can guess the company is being shopped .
    Sterling may also have mentioned if he wanted that LookSmart’s main institutional owner and 10% owner Sidus Investments is advising West now.

    • westernted

      the author of the article was being objective,your post is subjective which would suggest you are an investor in LOOK.

      i might add even more to the authors comments.

      LOOK has lost its CEO,CFO,COO and CTO in the last few months.

      LOOK is still burning cash and revenues are less now then when Hills took over in 2004.

      The exit of senior management in isolation would not be noteworthy,however when you see three senior people leave in a hurry this suggests something more more serious is taking place inside LOOK.

      Its current business model is not showing any traction in a market place dominated by Google,MSN and Yahoo with the impact of many smaller players trying to make a living on what is left over from the major 3.

      LOOK could indeed be for sale as you suggest,but it is a notion i reject.

      LOOK has nothing of any value anyone would want.

      Its last technology platform left is Wisenut and it is so poorly used would represent a poor option for those invading the search sector.

      Better technology out there for less money and would represent a much better option for others then LOOK.

      LOOK might survive but will in my view die a very slow death.

      Senior management leaving are the first warning signs and this is what the author was trying to highlight.

  • Ross

    Hi Doug ….

    I guess you can only report it as you see it. But as a keen researcher of both the Co and the “space” it is now operating in, the story is the complete opposite …..

    The previous writer (Mark) is “spot on” in relation to the potential of a “back door” listing through Network Solutions. But there are many others (including the WPP Group, Wikia, Lycos, NWS and a few, that you may even laugh at), that would ALL sign given half a chance, tomorrow.

    Looksmart will prove something “special” in years to come, as will be witnessed, I’m sure.



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