What makes someone swap a successful job at a thriving technology giant for a role at a start-up? Sooraj Shah talks to three such downsizers to find out
The perks of working for a big technology company are pretty obvious: the money tends to be good, the brand is well known, and the user base can be counted in the millions if not billions.
Brian Byrne, a former software engineer at Google, described his role as his "dream job". Paul Adams, the designer behind the Google+ social networking site, said of his subsequent role at Facebook that it "was a great job and a really great place to be".
So why did they both move to start-ups?
Adams had been advising business collaboration start-up Intercom for about nine months, and his social ties with the co-founders helped pave the way for his move to the company.
"The opportunity felt like something new and interesting - I'd have a large part in helping build a small company from the ground up. It was with two guys who I knew well and already trusted- and they had hired engineers from Apple, Google and Amazon too, so there was a bunch of factors," he said.
Byrne now works for virtualised datacentre platform provider Nutanix (founded in 2009) alongside fellow downsizer Karthik Ranganathan, who joined from Facebook, where he spent five years as a lead software engineer in its distributed systems and open source teams.
Both had personal ties with Nutanix's founders that were crucial in persuading them to move, but they also felt that a move to a smaller company would give them the chance to make a real difference.
Ranganathan said he was excited by the idea of taking technologies he'd used at Facebook and applying them to Nutanix.
Byrne felt the same. "Google is very good at introducing new technologies, it has a lot of resources, a lot of flexibility to try new things," he said. "[Employees] want to make an impact, but it's difficult because the organisation is so large, and so you acquire all of this knowledge and you start looking outside of Google at how other groups might benefit."
The money that Nutanix was offering was pretty good too, added Ranganathan, although this was a "nice plus, not a primary focus" in his decision to switch companies.
Byrne pointed to another key attraction: the close-knit nature of the team and the fact that he'd have much more direct contact with end-users than was the case at Google.