Staff leave Google's self-driving car team after reaping massive bonuses

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware
Potentially giving Apple some breathing space with its own project, people have been leaving Google's self-driving car division -- now a separate company known as Waymo -- because they were actually paid too much money, a report said on Monday.




A number of veteran staff have left Google/Waymo since late 2015 because a payment scheme rewarded them with so much cash, they were free to choose other opportunities, sources told Bloomberg. The system granted people deferred bonuses and equity, eventually including a multiplier based on valuations of the division.

When payouts came in 2015, some people reaped millions of dollars. One person is said to have reached a multiplier of 16 over the course of four years.

Payouts were so high, Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat was allegedly referring to them when mentioning "project milestones in Other Bets" as a central reason operating expenses rose 14 percent to $6.6 billion in Q4 2015.

Departures only increased in 2016, the Bloomberg sources said, driven not just by the financial situation but worries about Google's progress and the project's new head, John Krafcik.

Some exiles included the co-founders of Otto, a self-driving trucking firm now owned by Uber, and Bryan Salesky, who launched Argo AI -- which recently got $1 billion in funding from Ford.

Waymo is thought to have a testing advantage over the likes of Apple, but a weaker talent pool might limit the size of that gap. Currently, Apple's self-driving car efforts -- known as Project Titan -- are thought to be limited to developing a platform rather than a full-on vehicle, using VR and AR to test some technologies.

The company is reportedly waiting until later this year to decide if it will resume designing a first-party vehicle or partner with an established automaker.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,893member
    Beware -- if you actually do say F-u and drop out of the workforce, you better be darned sure you'll never need a job again. I know a couple from Microsoft that left back in the 90s. They lived it up for over 10 years, but then along came some stock market crashes, and suddenly they needed jobs again. 

    It turns out that taking F-u money doesn't look good on a resume, nor does over a decade of unexplained unemployment. 
    Solidasanman69Kiwiintransit to somewherewatto_cobracornchip
  • Reply 2 of 31
    nhtnht Posts: 4,429member
    Um...ooops?

    At the end of the day, it appears the division met Google's milestones or the awards wouldn't have been paid out.  Without that staff they may or may not have achieved what they did.
    Kiwiintransit to somewhere
  • Reply 3 of 31
    Its a classsic case study for those who have  been to buisness school. 
    I dont recall which company.. but anyways.. they setup manufacturing in an island nation......And offer huge salaries to the locals relative local standards. 
    .. intention was to gain loyalty and inspire motivation for hard work..

    after one year almost  all quit... they had earned more money than they ever had dreamed of and did not need more... (relative to their mind set, standard of living and expectations ).....
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 31
    ceek74ceek74 Posts: 323member
    Hear that fizzle?
    watto_cobracornchip
  • Reply 5 of 31
    matthewwanderermatthewwanderer Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Can someone reply with information about the person or firm who designed Google's SD car? I've tried wikipedia and general a web search and came up with nothing. Thanks!
  • Reply 6 of 31
    That is what I say pay reasonable bomuses on regular basis and not apply stupid schems like low base and crazy bonus every few years. I know similar model from investment bank where I worked and it is plain stiupid idea with nothing but backfires. People need regular basis incentives to get committed to tasks - not a jackpot or win lottery approach. They will also stay to win that lottery and then prove how they hated the job because they could not plan their lives based on low base and unknown bonus. Someone needs to start understanding the people do the job for living - not live for the job. Commitment is most of the time: familiy and personally planned life first and then job comes next to relaize that. I keep repeating this to my coworkers and those who report to me. Perhaps that is why I do not lose them that suddenly and get them comitted to tasks with no issues.
    edited February 2017 patchythepiratedasanman69watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 31
    sog35 said:
    self driving cars are dumb.
    Especially when SOG is inside. The car won't get a word in edgeways. Like when the mother in law is a passenger. The rest of us wear ear plugs. :smile: 

    singularitymwhite
  • Reply 8 of 31
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,678member
    sog35 said:
    self driving cars are dumb.
    Yeah, because safety is stupid¡ That's why automatic transmissions/clutches, cruise control, traction control, and anti-lock breaks are worse than when it was all manually controlled¡
    SpamSandwichmonstrositywatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 31
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,678member
    sog35 said:
    Soli said:
    sog35 said:
    self driving cars are dumb.
    Yeah, because safety is stupid¡ That's why automatic transmissions/clutches, cruise control, traction control, and anti-lock breaks are worse than when it was all manually controlled¡
    Huh? why all the fire?

    If self driving cars were not dumb we would have them all over by now. But bottom line they are not smart enough at this point
    So you've 1) changed your argument, and 2) now made the same argument that Android users use to show that iOS sucks. Good job¡

    Bottom line: Computer-driven automobiles that monitor and control an automobiles safety functions have been around for many decades and will continue to increase the aspect of auto in an automobile, just as we've seen with Tesla (and others) in recent years as the technology has improved.
    edited February 2017 SpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 31
    How could this be!? google is such a 'fun' place to work! Their lives are going to be sooooo boring without being surrounded by large swaths of primary colors. /s
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 31
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,524member
    They were trying to design golden handcuffs, but instead they produced a golden cattle prod.
    watto_cobracornchip
  • Reply 12 of 31
    davendaven Posts: 506member
    blastdoor said:
    Beware -- if you actually do say F-u and drop out of the workforce, you better be darned sure you'll never need a job again. I know a couple from Microsoft that left back in the 90s. They lived it up for over 10 years, but then along came some stock market crashes, and suddenly they needed jobs again. 

    It turns out that taking F-u money doesn't look good on a resume, nor does over a decade of unexplained unemployment. 
    If a person can't live well for the rest of their life after banking a few million, they aren't that bright after all.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 31
    If this "division" or letter of the Alphabet, dissolves, folds, or gets sold off, I would have a hard time believing in any Google "Kickstarter" Project going the distance... take it with a grain of salt of course... but anything earth shattering or ground breaking... they just don't seem to go all the way thru. Aside: Like if we see Glasses come to fruition and sell well, then once again, Apple will have achieved success, and carved out it's own place in that space. Which would lead one to have FAITH in Apple, if quantified rumors truly suggest Apple getting into Self Driving Car Logic, in some sort of fashion. It's kinda like Microsoft, when they (MS) actually release something you're kinda like "wow" they actually shipped "said" product. Wether or not the OS on the device will be maintained is a whole different subject, but man these companies just don't follow thru...we'll see if the google autonomous car division survives...
  • Reply 14 of 31
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,278member
    Can someone reply with information about the person or firm who designed Google's SD car? I've tried wikipedia and general a web search and came up with nothing. Thanks!
    They've used a few different testbed vehicles including several from Lexus. If you are referring to the little roundish "character" car that often shown in pictures here that was a Google-design (and in-house build AFAIK), and only for highway testing the autonomous software. Way too many people were thinking that was a car Google had some intention of selling to the public which was never the case.
  • Reply 15 of 31
    daven said:
    blastdoor said:
    Beware -- if you actually do say F-u and drop out of the workforce, you better be darned sure you'll never need a job again. I know a couple from Microsoft that left back in the 90s. They lived it up for over 10 years, but then along came some stock market crashes, and suddenly they needed jobs again. 

    It turns out that taking F-u money doesn't look good on a resume, nor does over a decade of unexplained unemployment. 
    If a person can't live well for the rest of their life after banking a few million, they aren't that bright after all.
    "A few million" doesn't get one very far in California. Especially in Google's neighborhood, houses start at about a million.
    edited February 2017
  • Reply 16 of 31
    neilmneilm Posts: 587member
    quinney said:
    They were trying to design golden handcuffs, but instead they produced a golden cattle prod.
    Real golden handcuffs need to work longer term, like stock options.
    cornchip
  • Reply 17 of 31
    sog35 said:
    self driving cars are dumb.
    Did you see the video recently of the Chevrolet self driving car in San Francisco? it did great only problem was they did the video  in fast speed  and it made me sea sick haha
  • Reply 18 of 31
    sog35 said:
    Soli said:
    sog35 said:
    Soli said:
    sog35 said:
    self driving cars are dumb.
    Yeah, because safety is stupid¡ That's why automatic transmissions/clutches, cruise control, traction control, and anti-lock breaks are worse than when it was all manually controlled¡
    Huh? why all the fire?

    If self driving cars were not dumb we would have them all over by now. But bottom line they are not smart enough at this point
    So you've 1) changed your argument, and 2) now made the same argument that Android users use to show that iOS sucks. Good job¡
    what the hell are you talking about?

    I just said self driving cars are dumb. You misunderstood my post.

    I didn't say self driving cars will ALWAYS be dumb. But they now.
    I think fully automated driving technology will have very limited appeal. While I'd strongly believe that computer assisted driving technology has a role, fully automated driving technology will only play a minor role if any in the next decade. It is an expense that the driving public will not pay for. The technology will be fairly expensive. The last time I looked, Teslas are expensive. And they are almost always purchased for other reasons than their automated driving functions. 

    Augmented reality displays built into the windshield or the use of special glasses to enhance a driver's sense of vision is huge and will sell like gangbusters. 

    I am sensing that Waymo is beginning to shape up as another Google Glass, or Motorola, or Nest, or Google fiber. . .  

    I would be jumping ship also if I had millions in the bank. In order for the product to be successful, it actually has to sell. I highly doubt that the public will be willing to fork over extra thousands on the cost of a vehicle for self driving technology. A few will, but the majority won't. 
    watto_cobrabadmonk
  • Reply 19 of 31
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,354member
    sog35 said:
    Soli said:
    sog35 said:
    self driving cars are dumb.
    Yeah, because safety is stupid¡ That's why automatic transmissions/clutches, cruise control, traction control, and anti-lock breaks are worse than when it was all manually controlled¡
    Huh? why all the fire?

    If self driving cars were not dumb we would have them all over by now. But bottom line they are not smart enough at this point
    Well, you have to start somewhere. You learn to crawl before you walk and before you run. Even Usain Bolt was a clumsy crawler at one point in his life.

    It's not like the Wright Brothers Flyer had automatic pilot and an in-flight entertainment system.

    That said, Google has been testing self-driving cars for many years on the streets around their headquarters. Have these cars graduated from college? Probably not but they are certainly learning. They are certainly safer than a teenager with a learner's permit or the average driver in the 18-24 age range.

    It's unknown if the Waymo platform will be first to market.

    There are a lot of companies now testing this technology all over the world and we're not too far away from the day when someone will bring a mass-market autonomous car to Joe Consumer.
    edited February 2017 mwhite
  • Reply 20 of 31
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,354member

    daven said:
    blastdoor said:
    Beware -- if you actually do say F-u and drop out of the workforce, you better be darned sure you'll never need a job again. I know a couple from Microsoft that left back in the 90s. They lived it up for over 10 years, but then along came some stock market crashes, and suddenly they needed jobs again. 

    It turns out that taking F-u money doesn't look good on a resume, nor does over a decade of unexplained unemployment. 
    If a person can't live well for the rest of their life after banking a few million, they aren't that bright after all.
    "A few million" doesn't get one very far in California. Especially in Google's neighborhood, houses start at about a million.
    And a million won't get a single-family dwelling. Maybe a two bedroom townhouse.
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