Skip to main content

Creating a startup culture within Google and Microsoft

When I left Microsoft at the exit interview I told them that the major reason I chose a startup over them is because I am an overachiever.

I was expecting that they'd try to drill into that and figure out how to keep the overachievers at Microsoft... they didn't. They HR person told me that I wasn't alone.

Big tech companies never figured out how to keep talented engineers on staff. They recognize some of them as "principal architects" or something similar, but it's generally given to people who were there for a while. With the current pay packages of base and stock options they can't possibly give everyone an opportunity to earn millions so they are OK targeting 66th percentile of talent.

I think to resolve this issue the tech industry has to look at the financial industry. Through bonuses and partnerships even if you join a well established firm you still have a chance at fame and wealth. Splitting the company into smaller units and tying their pay to performance of a product is one way. Of course some of that will face resistance from engineers that just want a reliable and steady job.

I think the solution is a hybrid: one part of the enterprise is run like a utility company and the other part of the company is an incubator. The conditions in the incubator should mimic the ones in the startup - lower base pay, smaller teams and a large bonus if the product catches on.

For now Microsoft and Google try to get the overachievers by buying companies and doing some great campus recruiting, but this well also runs dry aver a while. I know some companies now that are openly against getting acquired by slow giants and some of the best college recruits are raising money instead of joining the corporate ladder.

PS: the topic was brought on by reading this fine blog post: http://informationarbitrage.com/post/1574002431/the-challenge-of-being-google
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Lessons from my 9 Year Journey with DocuSign

After over 9 years at DocuSign I am taking on a new challenge.  It’s been phenomenal seeing the
company grow from from 25 to 2000 employees.  DocuSign has changed the way the people do business and I am proud of it.  The next chapter is going to be heading up software development at Tempo Automation - a 25 person startup that is changing the way people produce electronics.  While I am extremely excited about the future, this is a good time to reflect on my journey and share the things that contributed to the success and things that I will do differently next time around.
1: Focus on the Customer One of the key things that contributed to the success of DocuSign and my personal career is relentless focus on the customer success.  From the very beginning our CTO has taken meetings, listened and prioritized requests and feedback coming from customers.  People who could not be bothered by customer requests didn’t last long.  As a result over time our engineering team retained and reward…

Highly Effective Software Teams

A few weeks ago our Board of Directors asked me to present my assessment of the state of software.
 I was hired to organize and grow the software team and the directors wanted to know what kind of a team we needed to build.  I was hoping that I can just reference an article somewhere that would give me the answer, unfortunately I didn’t find anything suitable. During my research I did find some great material that will be helpful if your job is to put together a highly effective software team.
A highly effective software team has the following key characteristics: dependable, committed to shared goals, passionate about technology, respectful and compassionate.  These are not limited to technology industry, it can easily apply to finance, medicine, or sports as well.  Below is the summary and references that I found. Dependable If you are creating a software product, you need to deliver your software to your users.  Your users need to know that you are able to solve their problems on …

SDET / QA Engineer Interview Checklist

After interviewing and hiring hundreds of engineers over the past 12+  years I have come up with a few checklists.  I wanted to share one of those with you so you could conduct comprehensive interviews of QA Engineers for your team.

I use this checklist when I review incoming resumes and during the interview.  It keeps me from missing areas that ensure a good team and technology fit.  I hope you make good use of them.  If you think there are good questions or topics that I have missed - get in touch with me!


SDE/T or QA Engineer interview checklist from Mike Borozdin
If you like this checklist you might want to check out these posts:
Emotional Intelligence in Software Teams  and Good-bye manual tester, hello crowdsourcing!