Google Exodus a Symptom of 'Superbowl Syndrome'

With the recent exits of top executives and product managers from Google, is the hippest company in town losing out to bureaucracy?

Google watchers and high-tech recruiters say no, but agree that it is a challenge the Mountain View, Calif., company is going to have to overcome as it steamrolls its way across search and other Internet markets.

Former Google Health Architect Adam Bosworth, Head of Special Initiatives Chris Sacca, Designer Kevin Fox, News Product Manager Nathan Stoll and B2B Vertical Markets Director David Hirsch are just a handful of defectors who have left the Googlezilla for new opportunities and challenges since September.

Losing a handful of talent in a handful of months is not something Google is used to, but it is symptomatic of a company that has grown to more than 16,000 employees in a very short period.

"Google was started with the feel of a university culture, and we understand and expect that some Googlers will graduate and move on to pursue other interests outside Google," Google spokesperson Matt Furman told eWEEK. "We think this is a good thing for the individuals, the company and the larger community."

Jim Lanzalotto, who as the head of strategy and marketing for Philadelphia-based recruiter Yoh, places high-end talent in technology, research, health care and engineering positions, said the defections are an example of what he calls the "Superbowl syndrome."

"How many times do you see people win the Superbowl and say they are going to pursue one of two things: my passion or the money?" Lanzalotto told eWEEK.

The recruiter said it's in the DNA for a lot of high-tech talent in Silicon Valley to get that itch to do the next big thing. Google may have been a startup where these executives made it big, but they are thirsty for more glory on the high-tech battlefield.

The chance to be associated with a success story like Google or Facebook two or three more times is just too great to pass up and some people leave simply because they want to start anew with a fresh challenge. Someone who made it big as a product manager at Google may feel the need to leave and run his or her own show.