Leaving Google (for now)

Posted: July 22nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Sparkbuy, Startups | 6 Comments »

Some places are just delightful to work.

Two years ago, Google bought my startup, Sparkbuy. Ever since I’ve been leading a delightful double life as a PM on the Google Ads team and the CEO of Google Comparison Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary Sparkbuy Swan Songof Google.  It’s been an amazing run – we’ve been working on bringing transparency to products like credit cards, new vehicles, and auto insurance.  I’ve worked with engineers and PMs who are among the best in the business.

And all the rumors are true: Google is truly a magical place to be.  Actually having healthy food available all the time, for free – both in the literal and cognitive load sense – is amazing.  The people are terrific.  Everyone, at every level in the organization, cares deeply about the company and it’s mission.  For each person outside the organization pointing their finger and yelling at something Google’s done, there is guaranteed to be at least one Googler, standing up in a company all-hands, quietly and respectfully giving the executive team hell about the same thing.

I’ve worked at Microsoft, and I’ve worked at Realnetworks, and I have a lot of friends who’ve worked elsewhere in the tech industry.  And I’d humbly submit that if you’re working at a BigCo and you haven’t at least applied to Google to check it out, your career strategy is nonoptimal. In fact, if this describes you, ping me on Twitter – I’d be happy to discuss 1:1 in a bit more detail and, if it’s the right fit, refer you in.


When I sold Sparkbuy, I took an advance from the very nice people at O’Reilly Publishing to write a book about startup CEOs.  It’s been two years and they have been very patient while I’ve finished the first draft and not much else. (Fortunately, the spectacular Matt Blumberg has written his own book on the subject which should tide you over).  But it’s time to get that done.  I also have another, non-software product that… well, more on that shortly when it’s ready to share.

So the fantastic folks at Google have agreed to let me take a leave of absence for a few months to scratch some of these itches.

It’s going to be a great summer.


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  • Looking forward to a book read party once it’s ready! Good luck on the non-software project. Keep rocking Dan!

  • peterclaassen

    Have fun Dan! I’m looking forward to the book and to seeing what this new “non software” thing is. RC Plane/Helicopter? ;)

  • frankgrimes

    “Google is truly a magical place to be”

    Magical like Disneyland? Or magical like Criss Angel?

    “healthy food available all the time, for free”

    One would be skeptical where they get such resources to offer you, a free lunch?

    “cares deeply about the company and it’s mission”

    You mean their status quo? Their decision to shutdown Reader and the need to have everyone reading and sharing everything through Google+ so they can
    compete with Facebook for ad-targeting data, ad dollars, growth, and

    And you wonder why people are switching from Gmail to FastMail?

  • Marc Prosser

    Hi Dan,

    We mentioned your article on figuring out how to split the ownership stake between the founders of a start-up in today’s featured article on Fit Small Business,


    I have two requests: 1) Would you be willing to make a comment on the article? 2) When your ready to do some promotion for your upcoming book, would let us do an interview with you?

    Best regards,

    Marc Prosser
    Fit Small Business

  • Jonny Miller

    Looking forward to reading the Startup CEO book when its ready!

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