Peter Kafka

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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):

goog-stock-price

[Image credit: Doc Searls]


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work