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Leaving Google in Search of Act II

[qi:026] It shouldn’t come as a surprise: some of the early Googlers who have cashed in their millions and are looking for new challenges are hitting the escape button. We wrote about this pending exodus a while back. Some of them are leaving to start their own companies, a trend that seems to be gaining momentum.

My venture capital sources are telling me there’s been a sharp increase in the number of business plans crossing their desks with Googlers as founding teams. With Google (GOOG) stock being where it is, and Google continuing to pay top dollar for startups, it makes sense to play Sand Hill Road Roulette.

However, a few Google employees are changing zip codes and defecting to Facebook. My ex-boss, Josh Quittner, who is back to being a reporter, has this piece on yet another recent high-profile defection.

Benjamin Ling, a high-ranking engineer described by Google watchers as one of “Larry and Sergey’s golden boys” has defected—to Facebook.

For folks like Ling, the lure of a pretty young thing like Facebook is too much to resist. Of course, there is little downside if you have Googillions in your bank account. So what if Facebook turns out to be Fakebook!

11 Responses to “Leaving Google in Search of Act II”

  1. Om, tell us what you really think of Facebook LOL

    As to the googlers jumping to Facebook, I bet they leave because they can’t stand working for a kid who runs an ungoogle like operation. if you are smart and have been spoiled by working with other smart people in a professionally managed shop, it can be a challenge to work for someone who clearly lacks your experience, the experience you gained growing google.

  2. Well I think the most telling piece here is just to see how obfuscated the media’s understanding of the industry really is. Its remarkable that Ben is known as a “golden boy” considering he joined Google 6 years after the founding and managed one of the least profitable products of Google’s vast portfolio of money suckers.

    I think the great thing about the internet industry is precisely this naivete on the part of the media and the investment community. Imagine how many firms can get away with openly admitting that 20% of its 5000 person engineering staff is allocated for them to do whatever they want. This behavior has no history of generating any viable profitable products, so wall street foots a couple hundred million dollars every year on engineers having fun. Or imagine how many firms can get away with loose stock granting practices and no internal financial controls. The practice of providing no guidance to the street is also very strategic because it creates the kind of volatility where the stock can go from 500 to 625 in 2 months and provides its management an opportunity to cash in on the volatility.

    As long as the media and investment community continue their blind faith in the industry and continue to turn their inquisitive eyes away from the issues of attrition, financial controls, etc, I think we’ll continue to see great products and aquisitions like Dodgeball and Jaiku

  3. The reality of all of this is that there is a finite number of talented professionals with the vision and connections in this nascent industry. The war for talent resembles a professional version of musical chairs. Good luck to all the players!