Silicon Valley giants can’t retain talent: employees have joined the crypto industry

One of the obvious attractions of the crypto industry is the rapid return of money. In addition to reaping rewards after holding shares in the startup company, some of the employees who joined can also sell the company’s cryptocurrency itself.

Authors: Daisuke Wakabayashi, Mike Isaac

Original title: ” The New Get-Rich-Faster Job in Silicon Valley: Crypto Start-Ups”

Original compilation title: When Silicon Valley giants are still hesitant, their employees are rushing to the encryption industry on a large scale

When Sandy Carter resigned as vice president of Amazon’s cloud computing division this month, she announced in a LinkedIn post that she would join an encryption technology company. She also attached a link to the recruitment of this crypto startup.

She said that within two days, more than 350 people clicked on this link to apply for jobs at Unstoppable Domains, many of them from top Internet companies. This startup sells domain addresses on the blockchain network.

“This is a perfect storm,” Carter said. “The momentum we are seeing in this field is simply incredible.”

Carter is part of a wave of departures from executives and engineers from Google, Amazon, Apple, and other large technology companies. Some executives and engineers earn millions of dollars a year, and now they quit their jobs to chase the golden opportunity they see. They said that the next big thing is encryption. This is an all-encompassing term, including cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, and products such as NFTs that rely on blockchain.

Silicon Valley is now full of stories: people are embarking on a life-changing path to wealth through seemingly ridiculous cryptocurrency investments (such as Dogecoin based on Doge meme). Bitcoin has soared by about 60% this year, and the value of Ethereum has increased by more than five times.

But in addition to this speculative fanaticism, more and more the best and brightest people in the technology industry are seeing a moment of change that occurs every few decades. Through encryption technology, they saw similarities in history: how personal computers and the Internet were once mocked, and then subverted the status quo, and created a new generation of billionaires . According to data from PitchBook, which tracks private investment, investors this year invested more than 28 billion U.S. dollars in global cryptocurrency and blockchain startups, which is four times the total in 2020. The NFT company alone received more than $3 billion.

Sridhar Ramaswamy, CEO of search engine startup Neeva and a former Google executive, said: “There is a huge swallowing sound in the encryption field,” Sridhar Ramaswamy competes with encryption startups for talent. “It feels a bit like the atmosphere of the 1990s and the birth of the Internet are all over again. So early, so chaotic, so full of opportunities.”

Silicon Valley giants can't retain talent: employees have joined the crypto industry

“There is a huge swallowing noise in the encryption space,” Neeva CEO Sridhar Ramaswamy said outside the company’s office in Mountain View, California. Jessica Chou/The New York Times

“Encryption” has also been renamed “Web 3”, and doubters say it may be no different from past speculative bubbles (such as the subprime mortgage crisis or the tulip fever of the 17th century). They say that this fanaticism is largely driven by the desire to get rich quickly by trading assets, which often seem to be based on Internet jokes.

But more and more people who truly believe in it say that cryptocurrency can change the world by creating a more decentralized internet that is not controlled by a few companies. Although this possibility has existed since the advent of Bitcoin in 2009, encryption products such as NFT only broke through the mainstream this year . This has accelerated the entry of large technology companies into the world of cryptocurrencies.

This month, Lyft’s CFO, Brian Roberts, left the ride-hailing company and joined the popular crypto startup OpenSea. “I have seen enough cycles and paradigm shifts. When such a major event first appears, I will be conscious.” Lyft co-founder John Zimmer said, “Now is the first day of the outbreak of NFT and its impact ( Day 1).” He wished Roberts all the best in his new business.

Last month, Jack Dorsey resigned as CEO of Twitter and spent more time working at his other company, Square. To pay tribute to the blockchain, Mr. Dorsey also renamed “Square” to “Block”. He also changed the photos of Block executives to pixel avatars to emphasize this change, and built a software tool for others to create similar pixel avatars.

In addition, David Marcus, the head of cryptocurrency work at Facebook’s parent company Meta, also announced that he will leave before the end of the year to follow his own “entrepreneurial DNA.” Two people familiar with its plans stated that the 48-year-old Marcus plans to launch his own cryptocurrency project.


Spokespersons for David Marcus and Meta declined to comment.

The attractiveness of the crypto space has caused some of the largest technology companies to scramble to retain employees. At Google, concerns about retaining employees (including preventing them from moving to crypto companies) have become so urgent that this topic has become part of the agenda that the company’s CEO Sundar Pichai and his senior deputy discuss every Monday, and the two know The person said.

These people familiar with the matter also revealed that Google has also begun to provide additional shares of shares to some of the company’s employees who seem to be “poaching the corner”. Google declined to comment.

Unlike Meta, which embraces encryption, Google has been reluctant to join this trend. But when Surojit Chatterjee, the company’s vice president, left last year to become the chief product officer of Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Google employees saw the opportunity for cryptocurrency with their own eyes.

When Coinbase went public in April this year, the value of Chatterjee’s shares in the company soared to more than $600 million. At that time, he only worked there for 14 months.

Such a large amount of cryptocurrency wealth has created a sense of fear among many technicians. They worry that they will miss out (FOMO), especially those who bought Bitcoin a few years ago and are now very wealthy.

“Back around 2017, when people were mainly for investment opportunities,” said Evan Cheng, co-founder and CEO of Mysten Labs, a startup that focuses on building blockchain infrastructure projects. “Now it’s people who really want to build things.”

Evan Cheng is 50 years old. He left in September this year after working at Facebook for 6 years. He previously worked at Novi, its encryption project department. Mysten Labs has about 20 employees, most of whom are based in San Francisco, London, New York and other areas. About 80% of them come from technology companies such as Facebook, Google, and Netflix.

From left: Sam Blackshear, Evan Cheng and Adeniyi Abiodun of Mysten Labs.  Now with encryption, "people actually want to build things," Zheng said.

From left: Sam Blackshear, Evan Cheng and Adeniyi Abiodun of Mysten Labs. Ian C. Bates/The New York Times

The number of companies focusing on the blockchain field has surged, such as cryptocurrency exchanges such as Bitpanda, Gemini, and CoinList; NFT and art collection companies, such as OpenSea and Dapper Labs; and infrastructure companies such as Dfinity and Alchemy.

Concerns about the control and monopoly of the giants of technology companies have also stimulated this brain drain. Many people joined Google, Facebook, and other companies to create new things, only to encounter bureaucracy and the discomfort of working in a “big machine”.

Those who abandon the salary of a big company do not have to wait for a return as long as they would in a traditional technology startup.

Although employees usually accept lower salaries in technology startups, and hope that the company’s stock will one day rise, employees of crypto startups usually have earlier access to “liquidity” or the ability to cash in stocks. Dan McCarthy, a recruiter at the investment company Paradigm, said that they can usually trade in the form of trading company cryptocurrency. He wrote an article about the potential benefits of working in crypto startups for tech workers.

In some cases, crypto start-ups can provide a salary package comparable to that of tech giants, because employees can easily convert the company’s “tokens” – or the base cryptocurrency that supports the start-ups – into cash.

“Now wages do not have to be reduced to one-third of the wage level of large companies, because many of these companies are very capitalized,” Evan Cheng said.

Former Amazon vice president Sandy Carter said that people work in crypto companies not just for money. Some people are attracted by the spirit of Web3, which is committed to the decentralization of power and decision-making. Compared to Google and Facebook dominating the Internet by acquiring user personal data and selling targeted advertising, this is another option.

Carter said that Amazon is very interested in Web3, but she did not hire there because she promised not to “dig” her former colleagues.

So, will the outflow of technical staff to the encryption field continue?

“The answer is yes,” she said. “It’s time to join it.”

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
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