Well, if you didn't think the Silicon Valley was in the midst of a bubble, I offer incontrovertible proof: this article reveals how two Google VPs were offered $100 million and $50 million not to leave the company for Twitter.
These are middle managers, people. We're not talking about Steve Jobs here.
I would never want to be starting a company in this environment. I've been there before, and it's awful. You have to do everything in your power to hang on to people. My challenge in 1999 was to keep people around for their $80,000 salary when they were being offered $90,000 elsewhere. That's a battle I can win. But I would not want to be dealing with a situation where mid-level managers were being offered nine-figure retention bonuses (!!!!!!!!!) just for sticking around at their normal jobs.
Take it from someone who has built a small business; this is the worst environment for entrepreneurs. The easy VC cash may make it seem like a panacea, but it's not. The time to start great businesses is in the middle of a recession when people are happy to work hard for reasonable salaries. What's going on now is grotesque, and we all know how it's going to end.
Google is making a horrible cultural mistake. How would you feel if you were one of Google's 20,000+ employees that weren't being offered a huge fortune to not leave? A little resentful, perhaps? A little less interested in doing a good job? And maybe a lot more interested in applying to Facebook, Zynga, or Twitter so that you could extort cash from your employer as well?
Google, Google, Google. I thought you guys were smart. You are shooting yourself in your multi-colored foot.