Giving into reasonableness (acqui-hires)

Last week, Sparrow became the latest poster boy for talent acquisitions (Google gets the team, kills the product). Paying customers complain (I supported it!). Indie devs get depressed as one of their rank sells out.

I disagree with Matt Gemmell that these are a good thing – this is not a feel-good rags-to-riches story. It’s about brilliant developers giving into reasonableness because they didn’t have the runway to be foolish.

Why is this happening?

Given the situation, everyone is behaving rational:

Sparrow, Google, and the investors aren’t bad people. When you take money, you’re accepting that (1) a business that just makes you wealthy isn’t good enough and (2) you need to figure it all out in 4 years. If you’re running out of money and tired from working your butt off, a great signing bonus + salary is an awfully soft landing.

How not to get acqui-hired

First, you need some inspiration. See what Vinod Khosla, a Silicon Valley (gasp) Venture Capitalist has to say on why you need to think beyond getting acquired.

Next, don’t take the cash. Here’s why:

In summary, there’s no one one to blame but ourselves as developers if we (1) take funding and (2) don’t grow like a rocket ship in 4 years.

Lets build infinite runways first.