Once again, there’s been another story about how Google is having trouble retaining talent. Despite all Eric Schmidt’s attempts to tell folks that Google’s regretted attrition rate has not changed in seven years, this story just doesn’t want to seem to die. (And those stories about Google paying $3.5 million and $7 million to keep an engineer from defecting to Facebook? As far as I know, total bull. I bet it’s something made up by some Facebook recruiter who needed to explain how she let a live prospect get away. 🙂
At least for me, the complete opposite is true. There are very few companies where I can do the work that I want to do, and Google is one of them. A startup is totally the wrong place for me. Why? Because if you talk to any venture capitalist, a startup has one and only one reason to exist: to prove that it has a scalable, viable business model. Take diapers.com for example. As Business Week described, while they were proving that they had a business model that worked, they purchased their diapers at the local BJ’s and shipped them via Fedex. Another startup, Chegg, proved its business model by using Amazon.com to drop ship text books to their first customers. (The venture capitalist Mark Maples talked about this in a brilliant talk at the Founders Showcase; the Chegg example starts around 20:50 minutes in, but I’d recommend listening to the whole thing, since it’s such a great talk.) You don’t negotiate volume discounts with textbook publishers, or build huge warehouses to hold all of the diapers that you’re going to buy until you prove that you have a business model that works.