PodTech's future may lie in new CEO's past

PodTech may finally have rid itself of founder John Furrier's so-called leadership. But how will new CEO James McCormick fare? We've already pointed out that, despite 23 years of experience, he has never been the public face of a company. His past as an operations and finance executive is also littered with repeated failures: disgruntled employees, lawsuits, bad mergers, and other flameouts. McCormick may get by for a time simply by not being Furrier, but the failures linked to him through his resume do not bode well for the troubled videoblogging network.

Quiet Solution: Can't hold onto employees and intellectual property. The maker of soundproofing materials couldn't get its employees to keep its solution quiet. Quiet Solution recently filed suit against a competitor, Suppress, founded by a former employee for allegedly taking patents and other staff and along with him.

Perfect Commerce: Spiralling to nowhere. In the mundane business of "supplier relationship management," Perfect Commerce was acquired by vendor/partner Cormine. An investor points to a confused strategy (partly due to "the company's acquisition strategy" crafted by McCormick), a stalled product line, and $30 million in lost investments.

iPrint: Bubble fizzle. iPrint was a late Internet-boom IPO that fizzled ,leading to several shareholder lawsuits. PodTech claims that McCormick "was pivotal in the company's successful initial public offering."

General Magic: A product no one wants. General Magic, the longest-lived enterprise that McCormick helped lead, will aways be remembered for its quirky innovations, but it could never find a successful business plan. Not for lack of trying: It dabbled in graphical user interfaces, handheld OSes, Internet search tools, voice recognition, and navigation systems. The experiments ended with massive layoffs and financial losses.

UB Networks: Investment flop. A switch and hub provider that managed to be acquired for $96 million but was an admitted "flop" a year later.

Those all sound like fitting precedents for PodTech, if ominous ones for its investors. (Photo by Jeremiah Owyang)