Running the Microsoft Personnel Gauntlet

Ed Frauenheim of cnet discussed the difficulty of running the Microsoft personnel gauntlet, er, “puzzle”. Why are they so arrogant? Obvious answer – they’re a big fish. And some managers think that if their company is big, so are they and act accordingly. However, once they leave the “hive” they usually sink back into the ooze they emerged from in the first place.

When one of the Microsoft recruiters came for me back in the mid-1990’s, I ended up hiring him to staff one of my funded startups – . I recommend that startups in competitive times recruit a Microsoft recruiter – they’re very good.

On the serious side, the simple reason that Microsoft has difficulty in hiring is their antipathy to anyone who has worked with open source. This “us versus them” mindset has caused them to lose out on very talented people and on new directions in research and development in operating systems.

Fun Friday: VCs Get Googled, Tempel 1 to Get Deep Impact

Well, we’ve finally got the lowdown on the post-IPO Google payoff, courtesy of Bill Burnham, and it’s quite a tidy haul. How much? Theoretically “…all the way back in 1999 Kleiner and Sequoia each invested $12.5M in Google for a 10% stake. Fast forward to the Summer of 2004 and these stakes were worth $2.03BN at Google’s IPO price of $85/share”.

They had to back off on selling all that at the IPO, however, which meant they did even better. According to Kleiner’s distribution statements (SEC Form 4) “… to date they have distributed shares worth $3.549BN. They still have another 2.6M shares worth $752M as of yesterday’s close, so the total value of their stake is $4.3BN which represents a 344X return on their investment of $12.5M … not too shabby”.

What about Sequoia? “making an educated guess they have returned about $3.8BN to date and have stock worth another $940M left to distribute for a total return of close to $4.7BN which is about $200M higher than Kleiner’s $4.5BN (with the mystery shares). Based on their $200M more in proceeds for the same stake and their careful doling out of shares to protect the market, Sequoia wins the award for best distrubution process”.

For those of you not sponging off one of the Class A VCs, look toward the heavens (or NASA TV). Tempel 1 is scheduled to be hit by Deep Impact to determine if it really is a dirty snowball or a dirty dustball. Unless you have a rather large (11-inch or better) aperture telescope, watch it on the Internet – it will be Magnitude 11 and pretty hard to spot unless you’re very experienced.

So for all those unhappy people who didn’t make out like bandits on the Google IPO, repeat after me: “The best things in life are free”. At least, until Google figures out a way to put banner ads on Tempel 1.