Grousing about Google

Guess what is the fastest growing extreme sport in Silicon Valley – grousing about Google. The New York Times story mentions how they are sucking about all the talent from the market, causing hike in salaries and well soon inflate the Silicon Valley housing prices even higher. I found it amusing that people are comparing Microsoft to IBM. (Not that there is anything wrong with it!)

What I found most amusing about the piece were the folks who were grumbling – these are the same guys who hit a few homeruns on their way to Atherton. Just like them, people who are joining Google are watching out for number one. Lets take this in a more reasonable manner. You are a hotshot engineer who doesn’t want to design chips, write security software or design wireless systems. You have few choices.

You can work at one of the many so-called Web 2.0 start-ups, which have little or no chance of going public. The best-case scenario is an exit via acquisition by one of the four search companies. In other words, you “Mr/Ms. Employee” have better odds at the next World Series of Poker. And then there is Google – where you can get good money, and great food. (Lets leave out the whole option thing, because who knows which way the stock is flowing!)

What do you expect a guy with PH.D to do? If the choice was between a photo/slide show start-up or a cash-rich giant building a singularity machine, you know where people will go. The third option, of course is start your own company, and if you are a hot-code-jock, like Andy Rubin, well, Google is going to buy you anyway. In other words, they worship talent enough to spend millions on that talent. Sort of like Hollywood – James Cameron meets Leo DiCaprio and Kate Hudson Winslet – and hits.

Another complaint – arrogance. Oh hello…. This is Silicon Valley. Netscape anyone? Excite perhaps? Spend enough years hanging around SV, and you kind of expect the hubris, because that’s just how the way it is. Reminds me of that wonderful song from the great American classic, The Lion King. How did that go … Circle of Life!

Grouse about Google, however it would be better if the focus was on how big-and-powerful gatekeeper they are actually becoming and the influence they will wield on our lives. That’s something I am willing to grouse about as well.