Craig Silverstein, Google’s first employee, is still the company’s director of technology. The question is why? He’s undoubtedly in a financial position where he no longer has to work. Maybe that’s precisely why he remains at Google, connected to the founders and their vision of the company.
Silverstein was in Gainesville Florida for his 20th high school reunion and also spoke at the synagogue where he had his bar mitzvah. He discussed a number of technology trends and talked about Google more broadly. Among other things, he reportedly said that “search” is no longer the right term for what the company does:
Today Silverstein serves as the director of technology for Google, which has grown into a multi-billion-dollar company involved in everything from e-mail to e-book publishing. Silverstein said “search” is no longer the right word to describe the company’s work.
“The word that we think about is ‘information’ — what kind of information do you need in life,” he said.
Another interesting tidbit reported from Silverstein talk was the prediction that most searches would be generated via mobile devices within a decade:
Mark my words: In 10 years, almost all the searches that you do are going to be from a phone — or from a phone-like device that hasn’t been invented yet . . .
That’s not very hard to imagine given the proliferation of smartphones and the success of Apple’s iPad, ushering in a new era of mobility and connected devices. Google’s Android platform is one of the big drivers of the mobile adoption that Silverstein refers to.
While people like Craig Silverstein and his former direct report Marissa Mayer remain at Google (despite not needing to), the company has been losing other employees for whom Google may no longer be the “coolest” or potentially most financially rewarding place to work.
One such individual may be Sung Hu Kim, who helped run and evangelize Android’s developer program. He left the company to help develop Twitter’s developer ecosystem according to TechCrunch and his own post on Twitter.
With Google maturing and stock options perhaps no longer the draw they once were Google faces greater challenges to recruit and retain key mid-level personnel in strategic areas.