Gaurav – “Why smart people are no longer at the big companies”

I read it first at:Why smart people are no longer at the big companies” –, Gaurav Bhatnagar.

Imagine your pet project being sidelined due to investor (Wall Street) pressures. Unfortunately, that is more common-place than you think.
From Niall Kennedy’s blog,

What do you do when the market responds to your 6 month-old online services strategy by reducing your valuation by 1.5 Yahoos? Windows Live is under some heavy change, reorganization, pullback, and general paralysis and unfortunately my ability to perform, hire, and execute was completely frozen as well.

Niall was hired by Microsoft in April this year, to create a new team around syndication technologies for Windows Live. He has decided to leave Microsoft due to what I perceive to be lack of faith in his vision for data publishing and syndication.

Interestingly, I left my first job for a Masters in Computer Science. The hope had always been that I would realise my vision and get my execution right while working towards my Masters. I found that the priorities there too are different.

The only real lesson one can draw from this is that at some point you have to stop waiting for others to believe in your vision and begin believing in it yourself.


3 Comments on “Gaurav – “Why smart people are no longer at the big companies””

  1. jcheng says:

    Wall Street pressures aren’t always a bad thing. It’s healthy for companies to think carefully about whether they are spending their R&D dollars wisely; and just because a talented programmer wants to build something, that doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea. The history of the software industry is littered with the carcasses of big ideas, implemented by brilliant minds, that fell flat with customers.

  2. Santosh says:

    Hi Joe, Thank you for leaving your comment. I do agree with you on spending wisely. My thoughts are that Wall street sentiment cannot (and should not) be used reliably for validation of a business idea. For example, several technology companies had insane valuations in the open market during the dot-com era. If a talented programmer feels that he would like to build something, I would suggest that he look to the customer first for validation (rather than the investor). Which is also why Microsoft will remain Microsoft and smaller private companies will continue to innovate.

    – Santosh

  3. Joe Cheng says:

    I absolutely agree. The customer is a better proxy for reality than Wall Street investor. Both are better proxies, I believe, than the talented programmer. 🙂

    I say this as a talented (IMHO) programmer myself… it has taken me years but now I know not to assume something is a good idea just because I want to build it!

    (Oh, I should’ve mentioned in my first comment, I’m a Microsoft employee–by way of the recent acquisition of my previous company, a startup called Onfolio.)