Social networking company Tagged is trying to double its workforce from 50 to 100 this year, but the company is stuck in the middle of a huge talent war in Silicon Valley.
Perks like unlimited food and snacks are already commonplace, and not everybody can afford to build fancy new headquarters. What’s a small lean company supposed to do?
How about offering unlimited vacation time?
As CEO Greg Tseng explains, Tagged isn’t concerned about “inputs” — it doesn’t care when people show up to work, what they wear, or how they get their work done. It’s only concerned with “outputs” — the amount and quality of work they produce. As a result, it can offer unlimited sick days and vacation time. But if you don’t produce, you will be managed out.
Tseng doesn’t blame the talent crunch on well-funded public companies like Google or late-stage giants like Facebook and Zynga. Rather, he blames a “bubble” in angel and seed funding, which has created an explosion of tiny startups who can get money with nothing more than a good demo.
“It is so easy to start a company these days,” says Tseng, who started Tagged in 2004. “It’s not just that hardware is cheaper, but you have all these things like Y Combinator. All these people want to become angels.”
So instead of graduating from college and taking a job straight from college, smart engineers are applying for seed money and getting it. Tseng says Tagged has lost about half a dozen people who went to start their own company or joined tiny two- or three-person startups.
“Every engineer wants to be the next Mark Zuckerberg,” admits Tseng — he’s an entrepreneur himself. But he thinks the current bubble can’t possibly last.