Is FriendFeed going to hire everyone at Google?

Gary Burd (new FriendFeed employee) has lunch with us (he's on right).

FriendFeed has been hiring Google’s superstars. This has got to be worrying for Google.

Who is the latest to get hired? Gary Burd (that’s him wearing the FriendFeed shirt in the photo above). What did he do before joining FriendFeed? Oh, just some little things. He was the guy who opened Google’s Kirkland Office. He ran the Google Talk team. Before Google he worked on several key things at Microsoft, including developing the Trident HTML rendering engine, the core rendering component of Internet Explorer 4.

Over on FriendFeed we discussed some of the other team members (they only have eight employees so far, so haven’t made a major dent into Google, but they are definitely getting some superstars). Here are the ones I remember:

Bret Taylor. During his four years at Google, he led more than 25 successful product launches, including Google Maps, Google Local, Google Web Toolkit, the Google Maps API, and Google’s Developer product group.

Paul Buchheit? He was the creator and lead developer of Gmail, which anticipated many aspects of Web 2.0, including the idea of Ajax, long before that term was coined. He developed the original prototype of Google AdSense as part of his work on Gmail. He also suggested the company’s now-famous motto “Don’t be evil” in a 2001 meeting on company values.

Sanjeev Singh is a former Google engineer, playing a role in both Google Mail and Google Search Appliance. Prior to Google Sanjeev worked at social annotations site Third Voice and a government research lab.

Kevin Fox: from 2003 to January 2008, Kevin Fox worked as a user experience designer at Google, designing such products as Gmail, Google Calendar, and the second version of Google Reader.

Tudor Bosman is another. Is a great developer from Google, and was principal member of technical staff at Oracle.

Back at the end of March (shortly after joining FriendFeed) I interviewed Bret Taylor and Paul Buchheit on my cell phone and later I interviewed Kevin Fox, designer, who told me a bit about his design philosophy.

This is a superstar team and is the most interesting startup I follow. Do you have any who have more interesting teams than this?

34 thoughts on “Is FriendFeed going to hire everyone at Google?

  1. Robert,

    Thanks for doing the interview with me at the Microsoft Pro Summit the other day. The next morning, we had interest from a senior analyst at Herb Allen and Associates… one never knows who will watch these things..

    Say, about Trident being the rendering engine in Internet Explorer 4, it’s also the engine in IE 5, 6, 7 and 8. It’s widely licensed, and in fact Google uses it for one of their apps.

    All the best,

    Nick

  2. Robert,

    Thanks for doing the interview with me at the Microsoft Pro Summit the other day. The next morning, we had interest from a senior analyst at Herb Allen and Associates… one never knows who will watch these things..

    Say, about Trident being the rendering engine in Internet Explorer 4, it’s also the engine in IE 5, 6, 7 and 8. It’s widely licensed, and in fact Google uses it for one of their apps.

    All the best,

    Nick

  3. In the end, it means nothing. Companies have been losing and gaining talented people for years. It happens. It’s nothing to worry about.

    Google has enough talent to see it through should a few people leave. There are talented people waiting in the wings for the jobs that become vacant.

    FF is simply the lastest “flash-in-the-pan” company that everyone wants to work for. In a couple of years, they’ll be nobody, just like most of the once-hyped companies are today.

    That’s the thing about IT. Things get hyped as being the next panacea when they really add nothing to the mix other than another way to do something.

    Move along — nothing to see here…

  4. In the end, it means nothing. Companies have been losing and gaining talented people for years. It happens. It’s nothing to worry about.

    Google has enough talent to see it through should a few people leave. There are talented people waiting in the wings for the jobs that become vacant.

    FF is simply the lastest “flash-in-the-pan” company that everyone wants to work for. In a couple of years, they’ll be nobody, just like most of the once-hyped companies are today.

    That’s the thing about IT. Things get hyped as being the next panacea when they really add nothing to the mix other than another way to do something.

    Move along — nothing to see here…

  5. I just wanted to say that I recognize where that picture was taken, It’s Redmond, Washington, in Microsoft’s Backyard.. well. technically, a shopping center, a mile away… Crossroads Mall. I go there for lunch when I’m eating off campus. Maybe I can bump into these guys and get a job at FriendFeed.

  6. I just wanted to say that I recognize where that picture was taken, It’s Redmond, Washington, in Microsoft’s Backyard.. well. technically, a shopping center, a mile away… Crossroads Mall. I go there for lunch when I’m eating off campus. Maybe I can bump into these guys and get a job at FriendFeed.

  7. You’re right. They are assembling a pretty impressive team (although I’d start balancing the technical firepower with more sales / marketing minds).

    I’d take a killer team and average product over a killer product and average team any day.

  8. You’re right. They are assembling a pretty impressive team (although I’d start balancing the technical firepower with more sales / marketing minds).

    I’d take a killer team and average product over a killer product and average team any day.

  9. Money gets superstars, quick, easy money — have start-up fun, golden parachute out. It doesn’t say ANYTHING about the product itself. As some of the smartest R&D research types produce the worst software. And most unhappy people don’t leave, they can’t afford to, family, tenure or whatnot, as they say the “mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” But superstars jump about like popcorn, they can, follow the money.

    Superstar teams were the backbone of the last crash, as such it’s now a short-sell signal, as arrogance is the real killer. “We the elite, are smart, and know more than you (worthless) peons, so of course the public will like whatever we offer.” Proverbs had it right, so long ago, haughty spirit, indeed.

    In this case, superstars are attention-getters, plus, a money-dole out to friends, so that, in the future, if anyone goes big, they will cull in the group. Influence peddling on VC dimes, happens all the time. And a plus, if the company actually has sticking power, but that factor is always way down the line, well sometimes, you do get true-believer types, but invariably they all are megalomaniacs disconnected from any sort of reality.

  10. Money gets superstars, quick, easy money — have start-up fun, golden parachute out. It doesn’t say ANYTHING about the product itself. As some of the smartest R&D research types produce the worst software. And most unhappy people don’t leave, they can’t afford to, family, tenure or whatnot, as they say the “mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” But superstars jump about like popcorn, they can, follow the money.

    Superstar teams were the backbone of the last crash, as such it’s now a short-sell signal, as arrogance is the real killer. “We the elite, are smart, and know more than you (worthless) peons, so of course the public will like whatever we offer.” Proverbs had it right, so long ago, haughty spirit, indeed.

    In this case, superstars are attention-getters, plus, a money-dole out to friends, so that, in the future, if anyone goes big, they will cull in the group. Influence peddling on VC dimes, happens all the time. And a plus, if the company actually has sticking power, but that factor is always way down the line, well sometimes, you do get true-believer types, but invariably they all are megalomaniacs disconnected from any sort of reality.

  11. This really does say a lot about the investment FriendFeed is making in their product. You don’t go about hiring these big name techies unless you really believe in the vision you’re trying to bring about.

    Interesting. Thanks.

  12. This really does say a lot about the investment FriendFeed is making in their product. You don’t go about hiring these big name techies unless you really believe in the vision you’re trying to bring about.

    Interesting. Thanks.

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