Google’s been hiring PhD’s for a while now.
Today, I read Yahoo is starting to do that same thing too …

My problem with this emergence of PhDs into the corporate gene pool is realted to the fact that most (don’t flame me, I am not saying all) PhD’s have a very core focus on their line of research. It could be user interfaces, super computing concepts or even designing better networks. Not many PhDs have a core focus on business development and marketing and sales strategy.

You could say that getting in MBAs should solve this problem … but that is not entirely true either. Most MBAs come from big-company backgrounds where they have been cogs in the wheel. Very few of them actually come from maverick backgrounds and are willing to break the norm or go places without profit.

This is not an attack on the software guys who are out there going where no other software company has gone before and exploring new worlds and expanding the frontiers. Rather, just the lack of the startup guys. The serial entrepreneurs. The future angel-investor material. What is a good way for these now-big companies to keep their startup roots? How do they best serve their growing customer and investor base without losing potential startup-style ideas. Sure, they can buy out other companies and reinvent themselves with newer processes and ideas. But thats the expensive way.

Is there something they can do in their everyday business that helps them remain a startup? Google’s 20% time to personal project method comes close. Very close. Is it the only way? Is there something that can be done better? Why isn’t Yahoo doing the same. Why isn’t Amazon doing it too?