The ancient chinese saying goes “Find the job you love to do, and you will never work another day” and some people find it in a big way.
Salim Ismail, a high tech veteran entrepreneur (Pakistani?), has just been asked to head Yahoo!’s Brickhouse, and what a job it is.
TechCrunch has a good description of it, which I copy below:
Ismail says the purpose of Brickhouse is to foster innovation in a
startup-like environment. Brickhouse is located in San Francisco, far from
YahooÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Sunnyvale headquarters. Project ideas will come from inside Yahoo –
Ismail says YahooÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s numerous Hack
Days have generated hundreds of ideas for new products, with additional
ideas coming directly from Yahoo staff. Brickhouse will tackle the most
promising ideas, and plans to release 4-6 new products in the coming year.
Brickhouse employees will be recruited mostly from inside Yahoo, who may take
a sabbatical from their normal jobs to work on a project. Ismail told me that
Brickhouse will also hire from outside of Yahoo as necessary. They are also
putting a bonus system in place that will reward employees for successful
projects in a similar manner as if they were at a true startup with venture
What a great department!
I’d love to see more successful companies such as Techlogix look to create such an environment to augment their consulting business. Industry wide PSEB or PASHA could always get together to create an industry-wise Sabbatical program for employees, although IP Ownership and dividend distribution to contributing companies will be a complex challenge.
I do know that a few product-oriented companies such as Naseeb Networks / ROZEE have an internal environment like this, where they incubate new product ideas from within the teams.
CDF also does this for other companies to augment their consulting work where they put focused product teams together to take an idea into fruition for their customers.
What is missing in general is a more structured “Sabbatical program” for employees at companies. Such programs are typically reserved for higher education leaves, but I would like to see employers be more open to letting employees take a sababtical form regular work to focus on R&D and New Product Development.