Talent Wars

Talent wars. The interesting part was the first three paragraphs.

Flying on the Delta Shuttle with Bill Gates 12 years ago, I asked, “What Microsoft competitor worries you most?”

“Goldman Sachs.” I gave Gates a startled look. Was Microsoft about to try the investment banking business? “Software,” he said, “is an IQ business. Microsoft must win the IQ war, or we won’t have a future. I don’t worry about Lotus or IBM, because the smartest guys would rather come to work for Microsoft. Our competitors for IQ are investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.”

I spent five days traveling the country with Gates, and he must have talked about IQ a hundred times. Getting the brightest bulbs to work at Microsoft has always been his obsession. It’s paid off. Microsoft does close to $40 billion in sales and has some 60,000 employees. That’s a whopping $650,000-plus of revenue per employee, topping IBM’s sales per employee twofold.

Along comes Google, with its revenue run rate of $6 billion and about 4,000 employees. Google’s sales per employee are $1.5 million, or 2.3 times that of Microsoft. This is like comparing Babe Ruth to Home Run Baker. Google now beats Microsoft in the IQ war.

  1. Jayant says:

    Just an opinion. I think there is subtle difference between the two talents. Both are sharp but one is more commercially driven. I do think lot of behaviour changes happen due to that orientation