Google paid some of its self-driving car team so much money that they left the company

By midian182 ยท 8 replies
Feb 14, 2017
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  1. Any big business that wants to hold on to its top employees would be wise to compensate them well, but there’s always the danger of a firm being too generous. According to Bloomberg, Google paid its self-driving car experts so much money that they didn’t need the job security and decided to quit.

    The report states that some of the first workers from Google’s autonomous vehicle business had "an unusual compensation system" that awarded payouts based on the project’s value and performance. As well as earning their standard salaries, the employees received bonuses and equity in the business, which had multipliers applied based on periodic valuations of the division. Some payments reached into the millions of dollars - one member of the team had a multiplier of 16 applied to bonuses and equity amassed over four years.

    The two staffers Bloomberg talked to referred to the payments as “f-you money.” As more key milestones were reached, more money was handed over to the workers. In the end, they were paid so much that they lost any incentive to stay at Google.

    Former project leader Chris Urmson left to co-found a startup with ex-Tesla employee Sterling Anderson. Others left to form self-driving truck firm Otto, which has since been acquired by Uber. And former Google car exec Bryan Salesky started Argo AI.

    The generous system was replaced when the self-driving car division spun off into the new Waymo unit back in December, but the scheme had cost parent company Alphabet a lot of money. It lost $3.5 billion on “other bets” in 2015, which includes the self-driving car business.

    Even with all the resources being poured into the technology right now, it’ll take many more years before self-driving cars become mainstream. Alphabet may have to wait a long time before it sees a return on its investment.

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  2. fktech

    fktech TS Addict Posts: 223   +60

    Now this is funny!
  3. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    I'd love to be that unfortunate.
  4. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,685   +1,084

    Ok so what do you think is the real reason they decided to quit? If I was getting paid well enough, I would stay or retire but according to the article, they seemed to gone off and started competition. This leads me to believe that there might have been some other issues, wither it could be prima donna syndrome or Google not treating them well enough. My personal guess would be a mixture of both but more so leaning towards the prima donna side since celebs, including sports players, tend to act all high and mighty.
    Reehahs likes this.
  5. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,355   +2,005

    They never made ME that offer .... is it too late to get on board?!?!?!?
  6. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,384   +172

    When you get enough money you go to pursue your dreams, and if your dreams happen to be managing your own company, then you go do that. Given that this money went to managers, it makes sense that managing their own company was part of their aspirations. Doesn't say anything about Google.
    Reehahs likes this.
  7. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,188   +470

    When you have enough money, you are less interested in having a boss telling you what to do.
    Reehahs likes this.
  8. Kenrick

    Kenrick TS Evangelist Posts: 571   +373

    That is loyalty for google.
  9. Yynxs

    Yynxs TS Addict Posts: 202   +70

    Remember when Google, et al, robbed every tech in the United States by conspiring to limit salary competition? 450 million, spread across six companies was the fine? I hope one of the original managers of that day is among those fired in this little set to.

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