Thursday, July 28, 2005

Sucking up the talent

Ben Elgin at BusinessWeek reports on the "hiring binge" at Google and Yahoo that is "swallowing up some of tech's best and brightest."

The article mentions some of the high profile hires, including Adam Bosworth (BEA -> Google), Louis Monier (Altavista & eBay -> Google), Larry Tesler (Apple & Amazon -> Yahoo), Usama Fayyad (Microsoft & Revenue Science -> Yahoo), and Rob Pike (Bell Labs -> Google).

Moreover CEO James Pitkow has a great quote in the article, saying that Google has "created a Willy Wonka effect" since "engineers want to work on the coolest problems with the smartest people."

While Google and Yahoo may have been able to attract top talent, the article is less positive toward Microsoft's efforts:
Not only has [Microsoft] lost several top minds to Google in recent years, the Redmond (Wash.) company is also facing tougher competition for talent coming out of universities, even in its own backyard. Oren Etzioni, a professor of computer science at the University of Washington in Seattle, says Google has hired most of the top one-third of his search class in each of the past two years.
Little startups have been impacted as well. JotSpot CEO Joe Kraus is quoted as saying, "If you're talking to someone great, they're invariably talking to Google, and they often have an offer."

We've found that to be true at Findory. The people we are most interested in bringing on board typically also are being pursued by Google, Amazon, and Microsoft.

[BusinessWeek article via Danny Sullivan]

2 comments:

Jeff Clavier said...

And how went the discussion about the potential financial upside of working for a promising startup vs. Google ?

Greg Linden said...

Frankly, Jeff, it can be a challenge.

As you know, that promise of financial upside comes with considerable risk. Certainty can be appealing to some.

It would help reduce the perceived risk if we offered competitive salary and benefits. That is not possible while we remain self-funded.

Hiring difficulties is one of several pressures causing us to more seriously explore external financing.