A Sign Of The Hiring-pocalypse

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Oh San Francisco, has it really come to this?

Are we now at the point where the disheveled men on street corners no longer ask for change, but rather developers? Apparently so.

I walked out of the TechCrunch offices yesterday afternoon and passed this guy at the Caltrain station. He handed me a business card, cut out of cardboard with the URL fingg.com scrawled onto it in black Sharpie pen.

“Find me a programmer and we’ll buy an island together,” he said.

Sure. Okay.

What is Fingg.com? I have no idea. But does it really matter?

That guy’s cardboard sign is — well — a sign of the times.

It’s a time when startups are competing against Google and Facebook offers of $150,000 in base salary for fresh computer science graduates out of the best universities. A time when any young person out of a decent engineering school seems to be able to raise $500,000. A time when the latest Y Combinator batch is attracting angel rounds with valuation caps that are north of $10 million. A time when a 13-person team can be acquired for $1 billion without any revenue in a deal that took about 48 hours.

It’s a time when investors and founders are bemoaning the fact that engineers are spread between too many companies, making it hard for any single startup to have the necessary critical mass of talent to break out.

An entrepreneur-turned-venture investor told me over the weekend: Booms are the worst time to build a company.

Only capital is cheap. Everything else is expensive — talent most of all.

P.S. This dude also spelled “programmer” wrong and crossed it out. Probably intentionally.