Apple exec who departed over office return policy joins up with Google

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 18
After his split, Apple's former director of machine learning has already moved on and has found employment with Google's DeepMind.




In early May, Apple's director of machine learning, Ian Goodfellow, resigned from the company after three years, in part due to the iPhone maker's policies about returning to work in offices.

Now, Goodfellow has made a jump to Google, according to Bloomberg. The move was made because Google has a more flexible return-to-office policy than Apple at this time.

Goodfellow is one of the foremost researchers on machine learning, and he'll be working inside Google's AI research branch, DeepMind.

This isn't Goodfellow's first time working for Google, either. He worked as a research scientist at Google from 2014 through 2015 and then again from 2017 to 2019. He also interned for Google in 2013.

The policy at issue had Apple setting staff to work at its various offices from April 11 onward, starting with a hybrid work schedule of one day per week in the office and gradually increasing the in-office days over time.

Not all Apple employees are keen to proceed with the plan. One survey of a small number of employees found a high proportion were actively looking for employment elsewhere, with the return-to-office policy, the possibility of COVID infections, a toxic company culture, and a lack of a work-life balance cited as reasons for the need to move on.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 974member
    Seems awfully quick. Makes me wonder how much of it was due to the RTW policy. Perhaps he was being courted prior, but was able to leave and take care of his team by assigning a portion of the reason to apple’s RTW policy. 
    macxpressmagman1979entropysFileMakerFellerTheObannonFileBeatsviclauyyclolliver
  • Reply 2 of 25
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,299member
    mac_dog said:
    Seems awfully quick. Makes me wonder how much of it was due to the RTW policy. Perhaps he was being courted prior, but was able to leave and take care of his team by assigning a portion of the reason to apple’s RTW policy. 
    I agree...think they were simply poached away by Google and he used RTW as an excuse. 
    9secondkox2magman1979entropysFileMakerFellerTheObannonFileBeatslolliver
  • Reply 3 of 25
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 1,223member
    This didn’t happen overnight. RTW was a nice cover. 

    Check his records. Make sure he didn’t take trade secrets with him. Too bad most are in his head. Doing the exact same thing at Google. Seems suspect. 

    Everyone wants to poach from the best. 
    Dogperson
  • Reply 4 of 25
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,996member
    People at that level don’t make sudden moves. The courtship has no doubt been going on for months… and would’ve been easy with all the “WFH” he was supposedly doing. The most attractive aspect has got to be the incomprehensibly large data sets Google has compiled that he can mine, not WFH/RTW.
    edited May 17 StrangeDays
  • Reply 5 of 25
    I guess if he was important to Apple, they wouldn't had let him go and provided whatever he wanted. 
    edited May 17 lolliver
  • Reply 6 of 25
    designrdesignr Posts: 700member
    mac_dog said:
    Seems awfully quick.
    Why?

    Are you assuming Google can't move fast if someone they want is available? What about the possibility he's got a network that put him in touch with people who might want to hire him very quickly?

    This is Silicon Valley. The hiring market for highly qualified technologists is very active and fast.
    grandact73
  • Reply 7 of 25
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,795member
    C'mon, we have already gone over this before.

    This guy was frustrated being a middle manager and went back to being an engineer (a.k.a. "individual contributor"). This happens rather frequently in corporate America but these episodes are rarely highlighted by tech media.

    I don't know what this Goodfellow chap's motivation was to make a bombastic exit from Apple was but I doubt if he'll be working exclusively from home.

    Today, Google opened their new campus on the Ames Research property. Most likely this guy -- assuming he lives within driving distance of Mountain View -- will be expected to provide at least a minimal amount of facetime: maybe 1-2 days a week even as an individual contributor.

    This is his third stint at Google and I'm guessing he is in his mid-thirties. He is a serial job hopper. Google HR (and his manager) should expect that he will not stick around for very long.

    Note: this is a time honored way at increasing your salary in Silicon Valley. He is playing the game by the book. The only major change is how he is spending his 8+ hours every day working for The Man (whomever that may be). I'm not even sure whether or not he really cares. But it's really up to him on how he feels when he wakes up every day for work.
    edited May 18 michelb76tdknoxStrangeDaysdewmeAlex1Nkurai_kage
  • Reply 8 of 25
    mac_dog said:
    Seems awfully quick. Makes me wonder how much of it was due to the RTW policy. Perhaps he was being courted prior, but was able to leave and take care of his team by assigning a portion of the reason to apple’s RTW policy. 
    The job market is really good for job seekers in general right now. I get lots of calls from recruiters. For someone at his level it is even better.
    grandact73kurai_kage
  • Reply 9 of 25
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,795member
    mac_dog said:
    Seems awfully quick. Makes me wonder how much of it was due to the RTW policy. Perhaps he was being courted prior, but was able to leave and take care of his team by assigning a portion of the reason to apple’s RTW policy. 
    The job market is really good for job seekers in general right now. I get lots of calls from recruiters. For someone at his level it is even better.
    Funny, I mostly get calls from people telling me my auto service policy is about to expire. And that's for a 15+ year old Toyota that never had a service policy.

    And frankly of all of the great jobs I've had, all of them have come from knowing someone on the inside. I have never had a longstanding job that I cold-called or got recruited from.

    Dude went back to Google (for the third time) mostly because he knew the people he would be working with. In fact, he probably had to convince them to give him an "individual contributor" position but still pay something closer to his previous Apple director-level salary.
    retrogustoDogperson
  • Reply 10 of 25
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,220member
    WFH is a thing, we see people leave all the time for it, especially in expensive neighborhoods. Some moved to the suburbs and are ready to jump if they had to go in.
  • Reply 11 of 25
    sgkeansgkean Posts: 1member
    Lol, why not just joining Google for their free food.
  • Reply 12 of 25
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,379member
    This didn’t happen overnight. RTW was a nice cover. 

    Check his records. Make sure he didn’t take trade secrets with him. Too bad most are in his head. Doing the exact same thing at Google. Seems suspect. 

    Everyone wants to poach from the best. 
    ROTFL! Did you say that when he left Google to go to Apple 2 years ago, carrying those trade-secrets in his head to his new employer? Not likely.

    Now he's back at Google, so apparently the grass was not greener after all.  IMO, within a couple years he'll probably follow the pattern of moving to some other unit or company. 
    edited May 18 ctt_zhgrandact73
  • Reply 13 of 25
    Fred257Fred257 Posts: 175member
    Money. Buy another phone, iPad, car, house…what a boring life some people lead. If this guy is in a position to be creative and get paid more power to him. Apple products are the best and so are their employees who design them. Goodbye 👋 
  • Reply 14 of 25
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 2,680member
    Another approach Apple could take would be to pay people who come into the office more money. 

    Inflation provides a nice cover for this sort of thing. Come into the office, you get a 10% pay increase. WFH, pay stays the same as last year (which, with inflation, is effectively a pay cut). 

    I'm sure that wouldn't budge some, but it's a way to nudge the nudge-able without going to the extreme of forcing people to leave. 
    twokatmewJaphey
  • Reply 15 of 25
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,166member
    WFH is a thing, we see people leave all the time for it, especially in expensive neighborhoods. Some moved to the suburbs and are ready to jump if they had to go in.
    WFH is a thing for some people.  But it doesn’t work for all organizations or positions.  Those who choose it are also choosing to limit their opportunities.
  • Reply 16 of 25
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 410member
    No company should want an employee who has jumped ship as he does. They are not loyal people and they have to know he will not stay. 
  • Reply 17 of 25
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,220member
    blastdoor said:
    Another approach Apple could take would be to pay people who come into the office more money. 

    Inflation provides a nice cover for this sort of thing. Come into the office, you get a 10% pay increase. WFH, pay stays the same as last year (which, with inflation, is effectively a pay cut). 

    I'm sure that wouldn't budge some, but it's a way to nudge the nudge-able without going to the extreme of forcing people to leave. 
    That is already happening, maybe not 10% but it's so where I work and it's one of the FAANGs. Stats show that desirable talent is expecting remote roles and it is an employee's market especially for tech engineers.
  • Reply 18 of 25
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,065member
    BREAKING: Worker in Silicon Valley leaves one job for another with more pay/benefits. Again.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 19 of 25
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,245member
    Re: "The move was made because Google has a more flexible return-to-office policy than Apple at this time."

    Yeah, right. He could have gotten a job as a telemarketer if the WFH thing was the strongest motivating factor. Hey, if you believe all of the roadside signs, billboards, or late night TV ads, there are all kinds of fantastic WFH opportunities available. What's he know about selling time share properties, Mary Kay, or multi-level marketing? Why not look at one of the more popular WFH opportunities where I live - farming? A lifetime of WFH opportunities abound. Why be limited to Google or stuck behind a home office desk? He could be herding and milking cows and driving a manure spreader - all while still working from home. His machine learning skills would come in very handy on the farm ... learning how to run tractors, milking machines, manure pumps, baling machines, ... you name it.

    In all seriousness, I really don't care what this guy does and I have no skin in the game. My only point is that walking out on something or someone while throwing a grenade over your shoulder on your way out the door is neither the act of a hero nor a martyr. He has detached himself from an issue that appears to have bothered him by walking away rather than staying engaged and trying to change the system from within for himself and his former colleagues. I don't fault him in any way, but I don't think he should garner any special attention from the media either, regardless of the reasons behind his personal decision. Once the exit door closed, end of story. 

    StrangeDays nailed it. Some guy got a new job for himself. Big whoop. Happens every day.


    Alex1NDogpersonStrangeDays
  • Reply 20 of 25
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,795member
    sgkean said:
    Lol, why not just joining Google for their free food.
    Well, you need to show up to the office to get the free food at Google. They don't deliver.

    At least a few years ago the cafeteria at Apple was heavily subsidized but not free. Let's say this guy works 220 days per year but is only in the office 2 of 5 days per standard workweek. That means he's only in the office 88 days per year. Let's say he eats breakfast and lunch at work when in the office and saves $10 between the two dining at Google's cafeteria versus Apple's. That's saving $880 a year. Not really a big benefit.
    Alex1N
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