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Paying For Good Talent

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The unemployment rate is sitting at 9.7%, with roughly one in ten American workers not working. It's the mean season in business when really talented, loyal workers are cast aside like the morning coffee grinds.

Here's a heartening example of a company doing the exact opposite.

Facebook has announced it will be acquiring FriendFeed for an undisclosed amount of money (trust me, it's a lot). FriendFeed is a tool for aggregating a live feed across all your social networking accounts. It has received modest praise here and there; but, largely it has been left in the dust by Twitter.

So what's the attraction for Facebook (besides the fact that they did try to buy Twitter for $500 million last year and got turned away)?

FriendFeed's got talent!

Yes, it's a handy product to dovetail into Facebook. However, FriendFeed was launched by a team of ex-Googlers that were the original brains behind such no-small-thing products like Gmail and Google Maps.

This isn't the first time Facebook has bought an entire company mainly to get the talent roster therein. A couple of years ago it bought Parakey. Ever heard of it? Didn't think so! Parakey was a little start-up that specialized in tools to better integrate stuff on your hard drive like your calendar, pictures, documents, e-mail, etc. Oh by the way, the start-up came with it's founders who just happened to be the original team that developed the Firefox browser.

My point to all of this: Facebook recognizes, like a good front office of a MLB team, that it pays to pay for talent.

While companies are swooning left and right in this dismal economy, does anyone see Facebook hurting?

My questions for the company putting together it's next round of pink slip lists:

1. Is there anyone on the list you can afford to lose?
2. How much will it cost you when they go work for your competitor instead?
3. If you eat your own young, how will you survive another generation?

I can tell you this; Facebook is going to be around for awhile.

Last updated: Aug 11, 2009




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