A throwaway (but very funny) Fake Steve Jobs post this morning got me thinking about Google and it’s people.
As this Wired article says, the brain drain from Google has been gaining momentum in the past few months. Even more of a concern is this interview with Google defector Justin Rosenstein where he makes the telling comment that;
I also like that I can have a personal relationship with the founders of the company. I can walk over and talk to them about my thoughts and concerns at 2am in the morning.
company that shows up once in a very long while — the Google of yesterday, the Microsoft of long ago. That company where large numbers of stunningly-brilliant people congregate and feed off each other’s genius. That company that’s doing with 60 engineers what teams of 600 can’t pull off
In one swoop Justin has consigned Google to the same pile as other mature businesses, successful yes, but exciting and passion driven no.
Part of the brain drain can be attributed to new companies targetting ex-Googlers (with the expectation that success begats success), some can be attributed to the fact that employee stock options at Google have reasonably short term vesting periods – but apart from these two valid reasons, one can’t help but think that, post IPO (and free lunches and massages aside), Google just isn’t seen as the most exciting place to work anymore.
Last words (and ones with more than a grain of truth to them I surmise) to FSJ;
[you take] these super-high-IQ kiddies and the fact is that most of them truly are smart, but then you put them into this horribly dull and easy drone work on AdWords and AdSense and they’re all bored to tears and totally disappointed because they really really really thought they were going to do something meaningful with their lives and now they’re just worker bees — pampered worker bees, sure, but still…