Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Dave Donatelli leaving EMC. Wow.

DD at HP. Maybe. Probably Not. Wow.

Huge loss either way.

On Meyers/Briggs tests I'm always an INTP - which makes me a pretty good strategist - analytical, perceptive. I can usually sense industry moves BEFORE they happen.

But holy-batman-in-blue-tights-and-red-cape-with-a-big-S-on-the-chest...I sure didn't see this one coming.

Dave and I go back a ways - 1993-4 I think. He was pushing EMC to go multi-vendor when I was pushing DEC Multi-Vendor StorageWorks. We were both anti-authority change agents and competitors of sort. He was fighting against EMC's success in AS400 and IBM mainframe storage. I was fighting against the failure of DEC.

I interviewed with him once for a job at EMC. But, during the meeting, he told me about taking an MBA program in Chicago while living in Boston. That introduction to the Kellogg North America program changed my life. I followed Dave to Kellogg, but not to EMC, the year after he started, and one of the proudest moments of my life still is graduating at the top of the class while my father was still alive to see it.

The comparisons sort of end there though - Dave stayed at EMC. I quit Compaq to chase the startup dream. Last year, Dave made five and a half million dollars...let's just say, I didn't.

Despite his reputation as a very tough cookie in a box of tough cookies, Dave deserves a spot in the Storage Sanity Hall of Fame. There probably hasn't been a more influential hand behind the scenes in the storage industry for 15 years.

And, honestly, even though I did graduate at the top of the class, he was always smarter than me...we will all be better off as an industry if the courts let him work somewhere.