- Recruiters say workers are leaving Silicon Valley giants for crypto and Web3 endeavors.
- They’re making the leap in part to cash in early on what they view as the future of the industry.
- Executives and developers alike are jumping ship from Google, Meta, Amazon, and others.
Just a couple of years ago, landing a job at Uber or Twitter was like striking gold.
And while that still may be the case for plenty of aspiring tech workers, another space is encroaching on Silicon Valley’s position as the hottest place to be: Web3.
Eight tech recruiters told Insider that they’re seeing a significant trend of high-profile executives and developers leaving established firms to cryptocurrency and other decentralized tech ventures as the once-fringe startups elbow their way to the forefront of the industry.
“We are unquestionably seeing some of the best and brightest of Silicon Valley, or tech, move over to crypto,” Scott Fletcher, whose firm Intersection Growth Partners has pulled several “very senior folks” out from Amazon, Meta, and Google, told Insider.
“I’ve been at this a long time,” he said. “I’ve never seen a change happen this quickly.”
Silicon Valley execs will move to crypto, and ‘the rest will follow’
We don’t know too much about Web3, the supposed next iteration of the internet, except that — in theory — it will live on the blockchain instead of centralized websites run by the likes of Google or Amazon.
It’s “such an odd category,” Alex Zakupowsky, a managing partner at Artisanal Talent, told Insider. “It means everything and nothing in some respect.”
But as undefined as it is, it’s still plenty appealing to many of Big Tech’s top brass.
The former CMO of Meta’s digital wallet project, Novi, took the same position at the blockchain-focused payments company Circle in January; the former GM of Amazon’s AWS Edge Services is now CTO of Gemini, and Lyft’s former CFO and Uber’s ex-director of corporate development have joined OpenSea.
Then there’s Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s former SVP of policy and comms, leaving for a crypto VC fund, while YouTube’s former head of gaming left for Polygon Studios, which caters to Web3 developers. The list goes on and on.
Experts agreed that as executives jump into those spaces, “the rest will follow,” Zapukowsky said.
“Coinbase, in my view, was really the first one to get some very big hires from places like Google and LinkedIn and Lyft,” Zakupowsky said. “And now you’re seeing some very former senior people at the Ubers and Amazons and Pinterests and Atlassians and SpaceXs that have jumped into this, and they’re going to be recruiting from their networks.”
Fletcher equated the current talent leap to what happened when on-demand companies like Uber and Lyft became popular in the early 2010s, producing their own wave of job switching.
That’s largely because people want to work on what is most exciting in technology, recruiters said. Right now, that’s crypto and Web3. With a scarcity of engineers focused on the space, it’ll likely also pay off to take the risk and get in early.
“At the beginning of the Web2 cycle, you saw a lot of the same types of people who are attracted to crypto now gravitate to these big tech companies because it was something new and innovative and really exciting,” Kelsey Begin, a senior associate at Intersection Growth Partners, said.
“And then you get momentum, and the industry I think can become bloated and a little dated,” Begin said. “And then now we have another wave and it’s this new, super exciting, innovative thing.”
That’s especially true with the dev community, recruiters said.
“Developers like new things — they like new, shiny objects,” Vivek Ravisankar, CEO of HackerRank, a developer recruiting firm, said.
Idealogical differences between working for an old-guard tech firm a futuristic startup that gives power to individuals are also at play. Not to mention that the big names have been around for decades, plenty of time for them to have long-established reputations, both good and bad.
“To start at someplace that’s fresh, that is — by its ethos — trying to empower the individual as opposed to the centralized corporation is appealing,” Intersection Growth Partner’s Fletcher said.