First, a guy quits Google and posts the reasons why on the internet. Then another guy quits Goldman Sachs and posts why in the New York Times which is also on the internet. (Not quite a trend, but...)
In his resignation, former Google+ API executive James Whittaker laments the changes new CEO Larry Page has brought: “The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus.“ http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jw_on_tech/archive/2012/03/13/why-i-left-google.aspx
Whittaker points to a popular complaint among employees, that the company is all about making money, not creating things. "The days of old Google hiring smart people and empowering them to invent the future was gone."
Of course, any successful business is in the business of making money - that’s why it's a business and not a charity.
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Or as CNET's Charles Cooper points out: "Yeah, big duh. In case you missed it during orientation, I'm sure that someone, somewhere along the line explained the business mission. If not, I doubt very much that Google would have achieved what it's achieved."
Smith makes the sort of observations only ex-employees can afford to make: Google is broken. The company, he says, it so far behind in social behind Facebook its taking desperate measures to catch up. "I couldn’t even get my own teenage daughter to look at Google+ twice."
Smith's letter dredges up memories of Brad Garlinghouse's Peanut Butter Manifesto, a re-thinking of the Yahoo's business model which held no cows sacred. "Our inclination and proclivity to repeatedly hire leaders from outside the company results in disparate visions of what winning looks like -- rather than a leadership team rallying around a single cohesive strategy" worried Garlinghouse. Incredibly, Yahoo has had four more CEO's since that memo.
The second big resignation letter came from Stanford grad and Goldman Sachs director Greg Smith.
"Today is my last day at Goldman Sachs" he writes. "After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.
"Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like selling my clients a product that is wrong for them." he writes.
Strangely, Smith did not resign way back in early 2010 when Goldman Sachs was caught designing and selling mortgage backed securities that were deliberately designed to fail to its own clients in order to enrich a bigger client.
Internet pranksters couldn't help but have some fun comparing Goldman Sachs to the most evil empire in the universe. Bloggers at the Daily Mash report Darth Vader turned in his resignation from the Empire, writing "The Empire today has become too much about shortcuts and not enough about remote strangulation. It just doesn’t feel right to me anymore."