Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

A Google Lawyer Waves Goodbye, Lands at Twitter

macgillivrayWe’re used to seeing Google vets leave for Facebook. Now they’re headed to Twitter.

The buzzy microblogging service has just grabbed its highest-profile Google (GOOG) exec to date: Alexander Macgillivray, a deputy general counsel at the search firm, is coming aboard as Twitter’s top lawyer.

Macgillivray is best known as the lead Google attorney on high-profile intellectual property cases like its fights with book publishers, the Associated Press and Viacom (VIA). Twitter has yet to find itself mired in that sort of thing, but give it time.

Macgillivray is just the latest Googler to land at Twitter. Earlier this year, the start-up nabbed Doug Bowman, the search giant’s lead designer, to join the ranks of several other Googleplex veterans, including, of course, co-founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone.

There are lots of reasons to leave a big company for a scrappy start-up, but just to spell out one obvious one: If you’re into risk, there is a whole lot more upside at Twitter these days.

The company’s last funding round pegged its value at $240 million, and if it ends up being acquired in the next few years, that number could be much higher. But Google shares stalled long before last fall’s stock market collapse (click chart to enlarge):


[Image credit: Doc Searls]

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik