Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Google Growing Pains

Please see this disclosure related to me and Google.

Given all the management upheaval at Yahoo, it is nice that The Wall Street Journal’s Kevin Delaney focused his attention on what might someday come for the current leader, Google, which gets to be the can-do-no-wrong company of the moment, a status Yahoo used to own.


In a story appearing today, Delaney writes about what I have seen happen to every Web company I have covered as they grow larger and ever more powerful: More people leave for start-ups in search of more money, more exciting opportunities and, most important, more impact.

Giving several examples of young entrepreneurs who have bugged out from Google on their own or to even hotter companies like Facebook, Delaney pens a classic tale of Silicon Valley, where restlessness is like breathing.

That’s one of the things that makes the industry so vibrant, and also a bit unstable.

Google execs pointed out to Delaney that the company’s attrition had stayed steady at under 5%, has a 90% acceptance rate of its job offers and is on track to get 2 million resumes this year.

But sheer numbers and the attraction to other companies of picking off a Googler, as well as many employees now vesting their options, means it looks more like the vaunted cafeteria there (and the raft of other almost ridiculous perks) will not be exerting as big a pull as it used to.

Google now has about 12,000 employees, compared to when I met co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page many years ago.

While Google still had really great food then, there were only a hundred or so employees and it was the company that poached from the shooting stars, like Netscape, Sun and others.

And, of course, the then-hot Yahoo.

I recall one lunch where Page–always more of a worrywart than the laid-back Brin–mused about how to make the Google experience even more attractive and give employees more leeway, especially if the company decided not to do a public offering.

Now, of course, as one young techie in the Journal article noted about the image the company is developing with some engineers: “They just assume Google is now ‘the Borg,’ now ‘the Man…’ “

That’s just wrong. Actually, it’s the Goog.