Venture capitalist Keith Rabois has harsh words for Silicon Valley, saying the recent layoffs resulted from a “vanity metric” of hiring.
Rabois is one of the “PayPal Mafia,” the group of tech execs that spent their early years at PayPal before going on to found successful companies of their own. Rabois was at the payment company at the same time as Elon Musk, another member of the group.
Rabois told Business Insider that many of Silicon Valley’s top companies, such as Google and Meta, were hiring for looks rather than out of a true need.
“All these people were extraneous, this has been true for a long time, the vanity metric of hiring employees was this false god in some ways,” he said.
“There’s nothing for these people to do — they’re really — it’s all fake work,” he added. “Now that’s being exposed, what do these people actually do, they go to meetings.”
While it doesn’t seem like a good idea to hire unneeded personnel, Rabois said at least part of the motivation was to prevent talent from being picked up by other companies. This was especially true of Google, which led to a slew of engineers that were happy to “be entitled, sit at their desks, and do nothing.”
In contrast, Rabois had high praise for Elon Musk and how he has run Twitter since buying it.
“People are watching Elon and Twitter and he’s clearly setting an example — maybe it’s an extreme example,” Rabois told Insider.
Rabois is one of the few with praise for Musk. Since taking over Twitter, Musk has laid off thousands and stoked one controversy after another. The company has also experienced a major uptick in outages, likely the result of its reduced technical staff.
Despite the controversy Musk is generating, Rabois isn’t the only one who thinks his methods may catch on. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff recently said in an interview with Insider that “every CEO in Silicon Valley has looked at what Elon Musk has done and has asked themselves, ‘Do they need to unleash their own Elon within them?’”