By talent they seem to mean not just any worker in the computer industry but those who:
1- Come from overseas where people work harder, longer and smarter. Oh and by the way they will initially probably be cheaper too by a strange coincidence.
2- Are young. Established coders and architects over 35 (30? 25?) need not apply. Too set in their ways ; we need new ways of thinking .
3- Come from the few premium engineering schools. Those lesser schools can't produce 'talent'. College dropouts like Bill Gates need not apply even for a mail room position.
4- Have already worked at a start-up, whether it became successful or not. This inbreeding is similar to how CEO's are chosen ... only the small number who have already been CEO's or at the highest ranking executive levels need apply. Funny thing, all these successful CEO's or 'talent' had to start out at ground zero without experience on their resume. They had to take a chance and be given that chance.
Obviously, to be given that initial chance you have to be designated a 'talent' first. All others need not apply.
Another Difficulty for a Microsoft-Yahoo Marriage: Recruiting
The crowds of engineering students stood as many as six deep at the recruitment table Google set up at a job fair at Stanford last fall. Facebook’s representatives faced a similarly thick crowd clamoring for a few minutes of their time.
The competition for engineering talent in Silicon Valley and other redoubts of technology is as fierce as its been since the late 1990s, if not fiercer, some in the Valley say.
The battle for tech supremacy, then, is largely a battle for talent. And so one crucial question about Microsoft’s $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo is whether a combined company could more easily attract software engineers — an increasingly precious commodity. Both companies are already fighting the perception that their most innovative days are behind them.
“Engineers here want to work on tomorrow’s technology, not yesterday’s,” said Bill Demas, who worked at Microsoft through much of the 1990s and then at Yahoo until leaving last year. He is now chief executive at Moka5, a start-up of around 30 people based in Silicon Valley’s Redwood City.
“If it’s perceived that Yahoo or anyone else is not focused on the future, it’s going to be very difficult to recruit top people,” Mr. Demas said.
Size is also an issue. For many young engineers, the future is in tiny start-ups, which offer a cozier work environment and greater ownership over a project, as well as the potential for a big payoff if the company is bought or sells shares to the public.
Ben Newman, 23, who expects to graduate from Stanford in June with a master’s degree in computer science, is among those young pedigreed engineers who prefer the intimacy and excitement of a smaller company over the security of a large, established one.
A merged Microsoft-Yahoo “definitely decreases my interest in either company,” said Mr. Newman, who interviewed with Facebook, the start-up of the moment, but took a job with Mozilla, creator of the Firefox browser.
Bill Beer, a recruiter with Daversa Partners in San Francisco, said the job market was “more competitive in the Valley right now than I’ve ever seen it.” That is because of the battle for talent among behemoths like Google and Microsoft, but also because of what Mr. Beer describes as the appeal of working for “the almost endless supply of companies that are five guys in a garage with a really promising-sounding idea.”
Money, of course, is a factor in almost any engineer’s job-choosing calculus. Many of those students descending on recruiters from Google and Facebook were no doubt motivated by the idea of becoming rich in exchange for just a few years of hard work.
Yet in Silicon Valley there is also the cool factor, and the prospect of potentially working on the hot new thing.
Josh Becker, a venture capitalist with New Cycle Capital in San Francisco, said Microsoft’s profile in the Valley would be significantly raised “if they took over an iconic company like Yahoo.” But, he added, “whether that would translate into a sense that Microsoft is a cool place to work remains to be seen.”
Microsoft, which declined to comment for this article, has cast its bid for Yahoo as a classic case of the No. 2 and No. 3 in a market teaming up to challenge the leader. If the deal is consummated, a combined Microsoft-Yahoo would no doubt pour resources into the fight, and it might start closing the gap with Google in the race for online ad dollars. That would help its stock price and its recruitment effort.
“If Microsoft manages to keep talent and gains some traction, then it could help attract talent to its business,” said Michael Morell, an executive recruiter with Riviera Partners in Palo Alto, Calif. Attracting brain power to its cause is critical if it is to keep pace with Google, which has hired thousands of Ph.D.s and other software jockeys in the last few years to devise clever algorithms and add features aimed at pleasing users and advertisers alike.
On the other hand, Mr. Morell said, Microsoft might be vying to pay a large premium for a company already past its prime. “People look at Yahoo and think it might have already seen its best days,” Mr. Morell said.
One risk for Microsoft is that it could spend billions to buy Yahoo only to find that many of its most talented people have already left. That is one of the perils of high-priced acquisitions in the talent economy, where the real prize is often the collective abilities of a company’s employees.
Silicon Valley, after all, is a place where large companies have been known to pay vast sums for smaller ones largely to buy the commitment of a few gifted engineers. But like others interviewed for this article, Mr. Becker of New Cycle Capital said he was already hearing about Yahoo employees, loath to work for an even larger corporation whose bosses are around 850 miles away in Redmond, Wash., reaching out to friends working at other companies.
On the other hand, one Yahoo employee, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Microsoft news had the opposite effect on him and other members of his team, which has been working on Yahoo’s core search technology.
“I heard the news Friday and thought, ‘I’m staying,’ ” he said. “We really want to beat Google. And if Microsoft is equally determined to beat Google, then sign me up.” He described the exodus of people from Yahoo over the past couple of years as a “bloodbath,” but also said the search group, a relatively small group of a few hundred employees, has remained largely intact.
Even Google, with 17,000 employees, has lost some of its luster as a top spot for engineers as the potential for big gains in its share price has begun to diminish. The company still receives more than 20,000 résumés a week, or two every minute, according to Sunny Gettinger, a Google spokeswoman. But it is also starting to lose engineers to start-ups and budding Valley stars like Facebook, including engineers like Pedram Keyani.
Mr. Keyani, 30, started work at Google in June 2005, then left last summer for Facebook, which then had around 300 employees. He said at least a dozen engineers have left Google for Facebook over the past year.
“When I joined Google, there were around 3,000 employees, and in two years that number basically bubbled up to 16,000 employees,” Mr. Keyani said. “When you go from a company of 16,000 to a company of 300 people, you effectively have 50 times more impact on the direction of the product and on the company.”
Yet since Mr. Keyani’s arrival just six months ago, the Facebook staff has swelled by 50 percent, to 450. It seems a matter of time before Facebook, a leader of the social networking world, is replaced by the next “it” company, pushing the likes of Yahoo and Microsoft further down the list of the area’s most desirable tech factories.
“Facebook will be hot for a while, and then there will be other hot places that come along,” said Mr. Demas, the former Microsoft and Yahoo employee. “People want to have an impact, and it’s hard to make an impact when you’re being hired as employee No. 90,000.”