Good employees: cheaper by the dozen?

Chris Messina noted Google’s purchase of Measure Maps and blogged about it:

Kind of makes you wonder: is there room for the independent in The Acquisition Economy 2.0? …Especially when you can buy just an employee and leave his company behind?

I saw that and just had to respond, especially with my employer in the midst of being acquired. With today’s vicious non-compete and non-disclosure agreements, I think there’s less and less ability to buy off an employee you find valuable. If one of Adjoined’s competitors somehow found me irresistibly attractive, they can’t hire me without paying a crazy bounty to Adjoined. If one of Adjoined’s clients loves my work and wants me for life, same deal – or rather, no deal.

Sure, if the right opportunity came up, I could drag lawyers into it, but as an employee, this is not an option I’d want to take.

Furthermore, my hunch is usually that when I admire the work of a single worker, they probably have a good team alongside them. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Good people hire good people – and bad people hire bad people. It’s really damned hard to hire good people these days, so why not make a play for the entire team? If you gamble on a single employee alone, they might not like the new support network, might not like their new coworkers, might not like the new city, etc. Instead, hire ’em all together, and let the rest shake themselves out.

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