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Web 2: The Google Alumni Club

By - October 14, 2007

Leaving Google

One of the more freewheeling, I hope, and fun sessions at Web 2 this year will be “The Google Alumni Club“.

This idea for this panel came from the observation that 1. Google is getting very big, 2. Folks are vesting out, and 3. Startups are often more fun/lucrative/stimulating/free than big companies.

That means interesting folks are leaving Google and doing new things. I’ve got four of them on the panel

Franck Poisson, CEO and Founder, Webwag (ran Google France)

David Friedberg, CEO, WeatherBill (ran a chunk of AdWords, and was a key Biz Dev dude)

Patrick Keane, Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, CBS Interactive (was a key ad strategy man)

Bret Taylor, Entrepreneur in Residence, Benchmark Capital (key developer guy, and also launched Local, Maps, etc.)

Each of these folks had senior positions at Google, but left. What would YOU ask them?

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5 thoughts on “Web 2: The Google Alumni Club

  1. John says:

    Can Google continue to hire and grow as it needs as Google becomes larger and larger and less of an attractive place to work?

  2. nmw says:

    Vint Cerf, Google’s VP (Internet Evangelism) a year and a half ago spoke to a conference audience knowledgable in domain name appraisal and basically told us anyone who believes in “domain name guessing” was a fool. Hehehe… — well, I kind of agreed with him, saying “whenever my mom wants to search for something she presses on the blue “e” and then types whatever she wants into the box. I can’t remember what his response to that was, but I think Dr. Cerf is also a fine speaker, a nice person and also very diplomatic (maybe that explains why he’s taken a job as an evangelist speaker)….

    see also:

    Do you feel that there will be significant developments in “browser” technologies over the coming years, such as — just throwing out some random ideas here: a “Daddy” browser? a “mobi” browser? a “tu” browser? How many icons do you expect to be on a desktop in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? …? Is there a difference between reading a newspaper and reading a magazine? Do you “watch” news on a TV or online? I could go on, but perhaps that’s “enough already”!

    Oh, one more: do you normally proudly say that you used to work at Google, or do you tend to downplay that?

    ;D nmw

  3. JG says:

    My 2 cent question: Given that you’ve seen things from the inside, does Google ever stand a chance of making money in something other than advertising? Will one of the other services ever stand up on its own? Or is there not even an attempt to make money on something other than advertising?

  4. A well placed source asks:
    1) What is it like being out from under the huge platform of google as you work to build a new company?
    2) What elements from the google culture are you ringing with you? Leaving behind?

  5. nmw says:

    Regarding Mr. Vint Cerf’s remarks quoted above (see ), I wonder why: If (as he is guessing) people do not use “domain name guessing”, then why does Google use such domains as Gmail.COM and Adwords.COM to redirect traffic to their Google.COM property?

    Note also that ranks within the top 30 (of “about 72.6 Million”) results for a search on “” (even though there is no “content” at — it simply redirects to ):

    I am not saying GOOG should manipulate the results the way they did in the case of “miserable failure”, but I am wondering whether Google is also applying a double standard here (so not only in the “miserable failure” case, but also in this case) — basically saying that it’s OK for domains in Google’s own portfolio of domain names to redirect to the Google.COM domain, but that it’s not OK for other domains to be indexed if they redirect in the same manner.

    As time goes on — and as Google.COM’s algorithms become ever more cryptic and convoluted and less and less open or transparent and as the behavior of the entire company becomes altogether quite quirky, too — I expect that at some point in time more and more people will ask more and more: “Why Google?