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Blame Google

Gary Rivlin has a great piece on the front page of today’s NY Times, the premise of which is that Google is becoming as much of an establishment company in Silicon Valley as Microsoft has been since the 1980s.

“…[M]any in Silicon Valley are skittish about its size and power,” writes Rivlin. “They fret that the very strengths that made Google a search-engine phenomenon are distancing it from the entrepreneurial culture that produced it – and even transforming it into a threat.”

But what struck me (and the friend at EMC who called the quote to my attention) was the griping about salary inflation.

    “Google is doing more damage to innovation in the Valley right now than Microsoft ever did,” said Reid Hoffman, the founder of two Internet ventures, including LinkedIn, a business networking Web site popular among Silicon Valley’s digerati. “It’s largely that they’re hiring up so many talented people, and the fact they’re working on so many different things. It’s harder for start-ups to do interesting stuff right now.”

Google, Mr. Hoffman said, has caused “across the board a 25 to 50 percent salary inflation for engineers in Silicon Valley” – or at least those in a position to weigh competing offers. A sought-after computer programmer can now expect to make more than $150,000 a year.
I’d say that things are improving in the Valley when people are back to their whining about good engineers being expensive and hard-to-find.

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