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Jason Wood


Thanks very much for the thoughtful reply.

You're right that segmentation of employee type would be a worthwhile extension of this conversation. Ultimately my reaction was to Auren's piece, which did not differentiate between engineers and others either.

We all tend to look at the world from our own lens, and not being an engineer, it's rarely my first instinct to put myself in their shoes. Thanks again for bringing that perspective to the conversation.


Morgan Schweers

While you make some good points, I'd like to note that you say:

'Everyone HOPES they're at the "next YouTube" but the reality suggests there won't be another YouTube (from a payout perspective) in this generation; or at least very few.'

But you neglect to note that the founders of YouTube were engineers who went through the previous $1.5 billion buyout of PayPal by eBay.

I'm not suggesting that there WILL be another YouTube, but it's not impossible. I've been through two extremely successful IPO's in my career, about a decade apart (McAfee and PayPal), and I know that it's possible to win multiple times.

The startup lottery is one of the only lotteries where you can actually gauge the likelihood of success, and make a difference in that chance, not to mention taking down a salary while you play. (I'm abusing the lottery analogy, because it's not *entirely* a game of chance, but it's what most people understand.)

In the end, though, if I were to argue the point about 'A players' leaving big companies, it would be based on a purely emotional argument. The best engineers, at least imnsho, have a passion for their work, and unless the company has a class of engineers that are free to pursue their own passions (like Sun and MSFT's Distinguished Engineers appear to be) they will go someplace where they can turn their passions into products.

The more established 'A' players have usually found a company that respects them and treats them well enough that the frisson of danger no longer excites them. Since most companies don't give out Distinguished status to younger, newer employees, it's the hungry, passionate, want-to-change-the-world types that are leaving for the startup world.

(I can't resist, 'And thus is the cycle of life continued...')

You might need to draw a distinction between types of 'A' players, because some kinds definitely are flocking to startups, and some kinds aren't.

Just some random thoughts, do with as you will...

-- Morgan

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