2010-11-01

On Facebook hiring ex-Googlers

I've read several blog postings the past few days criticizing Facebook for poaching employees from Google.  There's the usual speculation about the motives of the defecting Googlers.  Pure greed for modestly priced pre-IPO stock being the most obvious motives cited.

Some people have also pointed out that it is sort of pointless to quit Google to start working for Facebook when you will find yourself in a company with pretty much the same people.

For Facebook I think the motives are as obvious as they are unexciting: Google has high hiring standards.  The hiring process itself has been the cause of much debate, but it is hard to deny that Google have high standards.  If you hire someone who was deemed good enough to work for Google, chances are that they'll be a relatively safe hire.

As for the ex-Googlers: I doubt that the roles and teams at Facebook will be mirror images of the roles and teams they were in at Google and thus it isn't like they will be doing the same job in the same team just with a different logo over the door.

I think the Google engineering culture has a lot to offer to other companies.  Google did a lot of things right and it is only healthy that good practices and ways of doing things are spread to new companies.  It will do little to line Schmidt's pockets, but it will be good for the industry.  Of course, as in any company, Google got a lot of things wrong as well, but this too is valuable knowledge.

As for myself, I am a bit curious if Facebook will ever come here (Trondheim), now that Google has left town, Microsoft have moved in and Yahoo are still here. Most of the brilliant people I've enjoyed working with for the past decade are still here -- but sadly they have been dispersed across too many companies and activities.

And if Facebook or Amazon are not planning on opening new offices here: it might be time to gather some of the troops to find new and exciting adventures ;-).

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