Is DataRobot in Trouble?

The news coming out of DataRobot lately has given me pause. Is a power struggle happening? Are sales flagging? I’m not sure what it is but there are a lot of interesting LinkedIn and Glassdoor Reviews out there for sure.

Before we dive in, here’s my big disclaimer: I work for, this post is my personal observation of what’s going on in an industry that I’m a part of. My views don’t reflect that of my employers or any other employees there.

The big news is that DataRobot laid off 7% of its staff after a very aggressive hiring stint.

…artificial intelligence company DataRobot cut more than 7,500 jobs globally from April 1 to May 16, according to employment tracker [via Bloomberg]

It gets better, there have been Board departures and former employees speaking out.

Former Board member Christopher Lynch posts:

Shareholder Jacob S laments the recent layoffs that allegedly happened after the Sales Kick-off and the President’s Club celebration. Talk about bad optics! That’s right up there with the “let them eat cake.”

I did do a search for any timestamped photos but I couldn’t find any at this time. My guess? They’ve all been scrubbed.

Of course, the Glassdoor Reviews are all over the place, from praise to downright scathing.

That’s to be expected as the firm tries to manage the message out there but I offer snapshots of two negative reviews. One from before the layoffs and one during (if the April 1 to May 16th layoff dates are correct).

I get it, selling AI software is hard. I’m in Sales, just like that reviewer above. Selling a complex product that is only understood by highly trained people, even if you abstract a lot of it, is so damn hard.

To sell a complex product you need a very focused organization, with clear communication, and a stellar go-to-market (GTM) strategy to sell effectively.

It sounds like there are organizational and communication problems inside DataRobot if you were to believe the review below.

Growing pains

There are a lot of good things about the DataRobot product from what I’ve seen, especially their UI, but after raising so much money and acquiring a bunch of other companies, you would think they had their “stuff” better together.

For the first time since I can remember, we got to peer in behind the curtain of a secretive organization and see what was happening.

What do I see? I see massive growing pains at DataRobot. I see the pain of being under pressure to perform. I see a flat startup organizational structure being forced into the traditional hierarchy structure.

I want to wish them luck, they were the first company to create an AutoML product and they built a unicorn! But unicorns are mythical creatures and money talks, and that’s all that matters in this market.

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