In 2008, we had the fewest IPOs since 2001 and that’s led to a lull in tech so bad that suddenly, lots of successful people in the industy want government work. Which is odd, because we hear the stock options are lousy.
Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman just quit all the boards she sits on to plan a run for California governor. Another former eBay exec, California’s state controller Steve Westly is doing the same. So is serial entrepreneur Steve Poizner. Facebook’s chief privacy officer Chris Kelly wants to be California’s attorney general. There’s also this huge fascination with whom Obama will pick to be the nation’s first CTO.
Ordinarily, the 38-year-old Kelly is exactly the kind of guy that’s supposed to stay in the Valley system at least until Facebook has some kind of exit after which he could cash out and maybe start his own thing.
We’re sure that’s what successful execs like Whitman, Westly and Poizner would be doing in boom times too: Trading on past successes for generous options at new startups, or eyeing cusping startups for CEO jobs, or taking cushy VC gigs.