Google/U. of Waterloo Redux

Earlier this week, I posted about a private donation of $25 million of Google stock to the University of Waterloo.

Fellow IP blogger and Iotum CEO Alec Saunders has had a running dialog with me on this posting - first on-blog, then off-line. Alec raises many valid points about Microsoft's long history of generosity with Waterloo, and of course their much larger philanthropic efforts in several areas.

My intent was not to make MS look spendthrift - not at all. I was really just trying to draw attention to how easily and quickly Google has managed to get itself permanently attached to Waterloo, long a major feeder of top talent to MS. I think it says a lot about the momentum Google is bringing to so many facets of our digital world, and in such little time. Waterloo didn't have to accept this offering, so to me, it's a tacit message of endorsement for Google and the school's desire to associate its name with them so prominently.

I actually had no intention to revisit this topic on my blog - until I read today's Globe & Mail. They run WSJ pieces, and today's was about Google's recent hiring trends. Unfortunately, I don't have a link to the article, but if you're interested in what I'm talking about, it's a great read. The title is "Google's growth helps ignite hiring frenzy", written by Pui-Wing Tam and Kevin Delaney.

Basically, the story focuses on the lengths Google is going in the pursuit of the top talent - wherever it exists. Kind of a perverse application of their own search engine, come to think of it. For example, one of their recruiters was assigned the task of "tracking down all women from the top 50 universities world-wide who had graduated after 1980 with PhDs or Masters degrees in physics, math or computer science". Wow.

The story goes on to talk about how this impacts the Microsofts and Yahoos of the world, and the pressures they face to keep up - not just to recruit new talent, but to retain their own top people from going - to Google. Dog-eat-dog at its most primal - very Pac Man, huh?

And of course, the parallels with the 1999 tech bubble are scary, especially with the MLB-type salaries and stock options been waved about. But that's another topic....

If you ask me, this article is highly relevant (another clever pun, right Alec?) to my earlier posting on Waterloo, and that's why I'm writing about it now. Google is clearly on a mission, and I stand by my earlier conclusion - I think Google is out-doing MS in the hunt for global dominance!

There's really a lot at stake here, and my blogging is only scratching the surface. Alec - let's do a podcast about this - I think we need to examine the ethics of recruiting and philanthropy in the digital age. You up for it?