Google has had a tough March.
First it lost Sheryl Sandburg, a pre IPO executive largely credited with making Google the sponsored ad cash cow it is today.
Now it has lost Ethan Beard, its former director of social media.
Beard will be joining Facebook as the site’s director of Business Development.
“Yes, I can confirm that I have resigned from Google and will be going to work for Facebook.
I think Facebook is great for a variety of reasons: the company has an innovative product with amazing growth, the team they have assembled is first rate, and the business is at a very exciting time in its development. I am excited to join Facebook at a time and in a role where I can have a significant impact on its core business and bottom line.”
It is likely that much of this migration has to do with the pre IPO bait that Facebook represents to the talent of other Internet companies.
Former Google Product Manager, Just Rosenstein, also explained the excitement of working for Facebook in a note he sent out shortly after his departure from the search giant:
“A couple of months ago, after three years as a Google product manager, I decided to leave for Facebook. I am writing this note to spread Good News to all the friends I haven’t already overwhelmed with my enthusiasm: Facebook really is That company.
Which company? That one. That company that shows up once in a very long while — the Google of yesterday, the Microsoft of long ago. That company where large numbers of stunningly-brilliant people congregate and feed off each other’s genius. That company that’s doing with 60 engineers what teams of 600 can’t pull off. That company that’s on the cusp of Changing The World, that’s still small enough where each employee has a huge impact on the organization, where you think about working now and again, and where you know you’ll kick yourself in three years if you don’t jump on the bandwagon now, even after someone had told you that it was rolling toward the promised land. That company where everyone seems to be having the time of their life.
I’m serious. I have drunk from the kool-aid, and it is delicious. Facebook is hiring ambitiously across the organization. If you’re an engineer, UI designer, product manager, statistician, bizdev god, general entrepreneurial badass, whatever, and you would even consider considering Facebook as your new place for hat-hanging, please send me a Facebook message. We can have lunch, or I can give you a tour, or we can go kick it with Mark Zuckerberg — whatever it takes.”
Is this a sign that social is ready to leap search as the Internet’s prize marketing outlet?
Is it a sign that social is ready to take the next leap needed to be the primary traffic generating resource on the web?
So what should we take from all of this?
First, as marketers, we should take stock of the talent that Facebook is amassing. The company obviously has taken note of the monetization issues related to social media and wants to be the first company on the Web to get it right. They are stocking up on the individuals that made Google the king of search, in the hopes of replicating the feet in the social market.
We should also note that this shift in talent has created quite a strange division of talent in the Internet marketing space. Although not under the Microsoft umbrella, Facebook does count the software company among its partners, and the fact that the social network has been able to recruit from Google, can only make Bill Gates and team smile. The reluctance by Facebook to join OpenSocial only adds to their alignment with Microsoft, a position that can only make Larry and Sergey a little nervous.
About David Snyder
David Snyder is the online marketing manager for THAT Agency.