While it certainly is not an exodus there have been some high profile Google executives leaving the Mountain View nest for other opportunities. There has been talk recently about Google becoming a more mature company but does that mean that some of their best and brightest don’t see opportunity there? Google is a big place though and I suspect that there are other PhDs and the like looking to fill these vacated spots. A ‘brain drain’ of sorts is not what is happening at the internet’s version of Mecca but it certainly signals a more widespread changing of the guard at the very least.
The latest to leave is Dipchand “Deep” Nishar. In the WSJ report of his departure he is characterized as an unsung hero by other Googlers who commented on his exit. He was influential in the development of Google mobile and other products. Where is he going? LinkedIn. Interesting choice. LinkedIn gets mentions all the time about its potential impact as a social media player for professionals and its rapid growth but it doesn’t have the same shine on it like Google, Facebook or even Twitter. LinkedIn gets a lot of traffic and is adding features and is certainly on the rise but it does so in a less spectacular way than others. Something is going well though considering it recently received $53 million in funding based on a $1 billion dollar valuation. There has been more recent investment from strategic partners as well.
What was most interesting was the statement from Mr. Nishar about this change. He said he chose to leave Google because he wanted to go from
“..building impactful products to an impactful company.”
“The kinds of things LinkedIn is doing are truly shaping the way professionals work,” he said, adding that he plans to push the company to develop more services to help professionals manage their lives online.
I don’t think this statement was meant as a slam against Google but it does make one think about Google a bit differently to a degree. Google is the great enabler of the internet economy but is there truly a community built around it or just everyone using the tools but not being part of the community? Let’s face it, no one other than Google employees are referred to as Googlers. It appears that the club or social feel of Google is pretty much relegated to the insiders. The rest of us USE Google out of necessity but not really out of commitment Google. There are so many Google products that the ability to truly have community in that vast offering is limited. LinkedIn is more targeted. Notice I didn’t say focused just more targeted. Due to this it may be perceived that the company offers more for someone like Mr. Nishar who wants to make an impact on a more personal level. Your guess is as good as mine.
Like most blogging this is just speculation and conjecture on my part. Google’s impact is profound in the overall scope of things, that’s obvious. I just found his statements curious and the implied meaning could be that the maturity of Google is wearing on some of the most influential early drivers of the company. What that means for Google as a whole remains to be seen. I don’t suspect any meltdowns in Mountain View like the rest of the economy in the near future. Ask IBM, though, what can happen to a supposedly untouchable corporate monolith. No one is exempt. Vigilance will be the key to prevent trouble but if there is just a moment of taking their eye off the ball even Google could drop a few.