"Follow the talent."
He is a great investor, Chris Burniske tweeted recently to underline another tweet from AngelList's co-founder, Naval Ravikant, when he wrote in March: "The blockchains are now aspiring to high-level Silicon Valley technology talent faster than any other Internet boom."
Yet, like the first bursts of winter crypto, this narrative has just cooled down.
We recently heard it repeated recently, in October, when we spoke with Tinder's executive director and Jeff Morris, Jr., who started Chapter One Ventures to support cryptographic projects that he found exciting. But who are these professionals who leave good companies to seize the opportunity in the world of cryptography?
CoinDesk has found seven examples of people who have left the job not only in well-known technology companies, but also in the most important ones. We have found examples of staff of five giants of Web 2.0, the so-called FANG: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google.
Each of the people on this list has turned its back on the secure life of a technology giant, the most powerful companies in today's economy, to have a chance on a new sector built with money originating from the Internet and decentralized data structures.
Kahina van Dyke – Ripple
Kahina van Dyke is Ripple's senior vice president for business and corporate development, and most of her business experience has focused on payments at major companies, not just on Facebook. Not only has he spent two and a half years working on payment systems at Menlo Park, but he has previous experience with MasterCard and Citibank.
Van Dyke made the transition in June. In Ripple's blog, he described his reasons for entering the field of distributed accounting books. She said:
"There's a reason why today you only have a handful of important money transfer operators in the world, without a doubt, cross-border transactions are one of the most complex and multi-faceted problems in payments."
He said he believes Ripple has the combination of technology and business strategy to eliminate the friction faced by people all over the world who are trying to transfer money internationally.
Evgeny Kuzyakov – Near Protocol
With Kuzyakov we actually get a double dose of FANG. Before his current job he worked on Facebook, and just before he worked in Google. He is now one of the software engineers at Near Protocol, which aims to bring the blockchain to low-end devices using sharding.
When he left Facebook, he worked on video compression for 360-degree video and virtual reality. Spending time at two different major technology companies, he says, will help protect what Near Hope is a far-reaching protocol.
He told us:
"I worked on Google's backend infrastructure, so I know how to build distributed systems, I understand the security and privacy of large-scale projects to ensure that users are in the best interest of the whole system."
Ethereum is still too complicated and easy to mess up. EOS has not gained people's trust and everything else is just too immature.
"My industry experience helps us understand these issues and, hopefully, would help them avoid them when we design our system," he said.
Leo Chen – Harmony
Chen has just left Amazon Web Services (AWS), the Seattle giant's cloud service, to begin with Harmony, an upcoming consensus platform designed for very high throughput.
After nearly four years in the company, Chen told CoinDesk that he could make the first move, but he had deleted the Facebook app from his phone. If it were not for that, it might not have missed an overture from Harmony founder Stephen Tse (himself an alum of Apple and Google).
In 2012, Chen bought a bit of bitcoin and made a good profit on them, but the family took over and lost track of the crypt for a while. Then ethereum again aroused his interest and when he finally sat down with Tse, it was right.
"I'm also very interested in building the infrastructure and distributed systems, I've heard that blockchain is the technology that I'm interested in and can contribute to," he told CoinDesk.
Basically everyone who uses the Internet uses AWS indirectly. "We have assisted hundreds of thousands of customers on hundreds of thousands of machines, the architecture I have learned and the experience I have gained can help us build a high-performance and secure blockchain," he wrote.
Alok Kothari – Harmony
Harmony gets two points on this list, with Kothari as one of his engineers and co-founder. His team is actually full of people with FANG backgrounds, which is something that seems to be true in general: teams with a veteran FANG have many more.
Kothari is a co-founder of Harmony. He left Apple in June after working there for almost three years. An auto-learning specialist, she had worked with Siri on Apple's voice assistant, but for a long time she had thought about starting something herself.
"It was a perfect storm of many factors, I was waiting to start my business trip for a while," wrote CoinDesk. He met the people who would become his co-founders during a meeting for ex-googlers (xoogler, as they define themselves).
"I was convinced that the blockchain would transform the world," he added. "To free up all the usefulness of the data created in the world, access to data should be democratized and decentralized."
If this can be achieved, he said: "Everyone would benefit, and everyone would win".
Alex Feinberg – OKCoin
Feinberg holds the role of Director of Business Development at the exchange, OKCoin, although he left Google to join a security startup aimed at blockchain startups called Petram Security. So OKCoin is actually its second cryptographic role since Google.
Feinberg started working on Google in 2011, carrying out a series of roles on the business side before starting in March, working at the moment on Google Search and Google Assistant. He has collaborated with major brands (such as NBA, Bloomberg, NPR) to integrate their content with the main search and assistance platforms.
He joined Google because he had a thesis that as long as central banks kept printing money, it would have huge benefits in the most speculative parts of the economy, like technology. "The passage into cryptographic space was just a logical extension of this original decision," he said.
He decided his decision to move to the beginning of this year. He was having dinner with a friend in January. His friend had made some major contrarian bets and had a wild success. Feinberg wrote:
"I thought about myself," People with whom I share a similar world view outside of Google are doing much better economically than people I'm not in with Google, so let's see where it takes me. " 39; "
Chandan Lodha – CoinTracker
Lodha is co-founder of CoinTracker, an application that can calculate tax obligations on cryptographic portfolios.
He left Google's X Division (or Alphabet) in mid-2017, where he worked as a product manager on Project Loon, which aims to connect remote areas to the Internet with balloons.
"To be honest, I was initially rather skeptical about cryptocurrency," he told us, despite working on a bitcoin startup in 2012 and holding cryptocurrency for years. As those holdings became more significant, they felt less like a hobby.
He was already working to put together an idea with a friend Googler who became his co-founder. Although they began to look at traditional fintechs, his experience in the crypt aimed their business in that direction.
It is difficult to understand if the trends like the one shown above will accelerate, because the staff could more and more similar transitions within the companies. For example, the Instagram product leader has recently moved on to a similar role in Facebook's blockchain efforts, according to LinkedIn.
Likewise, the former Coinbase board member and head of Facebook messaging products, David Marcus, is also stuck in Menlo Park.
"You're taking your all-stars and transferring them to your company's blockchain initiatives," Morris observed at CoinDesk in an interview. "Much must be led by employees".
Shutterstock photo collage of (clockwise from left to top) JHVE Photo, Jejim, R. Classen, Uladzik Kryhin and SeaRick1