The engineers building self-driving cars for Google had an unusual problem. They made so much money that they quit.
Google paid its staffers on Waymo, its self-driving car division, such huge salaries and bonuses that they had enough money to give up stable jobs at the tech company, Bloomberg reported.
The “unusual compensation system” was based on the success of Waymo, not Google itself. Employees’ bonuses and equity were multiplied by as much as 16 in one case, Bloomberg said, putting employees’ compensation in the multi-millions.
The system rewarded engineers for Waymo’s success even though Waymo has yet to produce an actual self-driving car. The division, however, did reach key milestones that prompted the multiplied bonuses.
The “f- you money,” as employees called it, was too much even for Google. Employees left to start Otto, the self-driving trucking company acquired by Uber, and Argo AI, which just got a $1 billion investment from Ford.
Newer employees won’t have the same problem at Waymo. They’re being paid on a more normal system, where their bonuses won’t get multiplied by 16.