Conflating base salary and RSU packages, especially pre-IPO RSUs, is a mistake. In my 20 years in Silicon Valley I've learned you simply can't put too much faith in stock. Stock is great, but it goes up and down. The only thing that is real is base salary, even bonus isn't guaranteed. Stock or options are nice, but they are icing on the cake, if you get a chance to cash out, so combining them with base salary is generally a mistake.
I hope it doesn't get him in trouble, too. It would be both illegal and a gross ethical violation on Airbnb's part. The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 gives all employees the right organize and "engage in concerted activities", including the right to discuss their terms and conditions of employment with each other.
Obama also signed an executive order last year reinforcing these rights. If you have a problem with employees sharing compensation information, you shouldn't be an employer in the US (or anywhere, really).
Either AirBnB ends up making 230k the minimum salary for everyone or people will take this guy's advice and start negotiating, getting counter offer from other places and possibly just leave. Management ended up paying a lot more than 230k for this guy so they are probably not happy.
More transparency is overall a positive thing. Underpaid people should know that they're being underpaid, and engineers notoriously suck at negotiation.
I just don't think AirBnB can pay higher than Google in the long-term--are they really making $1M in revenue and quarter million per employee?
Here usually we talk openly about them.
The end result of our self-censor is a weak labor market. We don't know what we're worth. Americans, aside from our verbrato, tend to underestimate our worth. There are people working for 80k with 8 years of experience in advanced fields like Big Data that don't realize that they bring their companies 200k+ worth of value. They don't realize that their peers with less skills and marketability are making the same 80k. This makes management's life better: thicker margins.
When an individual attempts to move past this barrier, especially consciously, anti-union sentiment pops up. People start to get defensive. Others get lustful. A reasonable dialogue turns into a battle of the Joneses. Labor fights Labor.
"Bravado". I wouldn't correct you except that it took me a good five minutes to think of the correct word :-)
People also don't talk about salaries in social situations (IME). That's much more understandable, I think- it's just a lose-lose situation. If you make more than whoever you're talking to, it's awkward. If you make less than whoever you're talking to, it's awkward (for different reasons). It's usually not a topic that people would want to talk about outside of a professional context because either one person is going to feel bad, or the other person is going to feel like a jerk, or both. Or they're both sociopaths, in which case, whatever floats their boats.
But usually among friends, people are generally comfortable mentioning them.
What percentage of HN posters have applied to Google? And how many received offers? I think it's amazing that he outclasses so many of us after being in our industry for a year. Good for him.
We've since learnt a lot about what makes successful engineers. While nearly everyone who goes thru us (and is actively looking) gets placed somewhere nice, the people who crack some of the hardest interviews generally fall into ONE or MORE of the following categories:
1. They are just bright from the get go. A high IQ.
Haseeb, from the little I've read about him, seems to fall into this category. They can get by with normal amount of practice viz. brush-up.
2. They are extremely prepped.
A crude measure of prep, is how many algorithmic problems you've practiced. Some of these people have crossed 300+ problems. Written code for each. And repeated it. It takes several months to a year to do this with diligence and focus.
3. They have been coding for a long time. Almost precocious-ly.
They have written so much code, that a lot of constructs are now muscle memory. All they need to do in an interview, is to intuit the solution. After that, they impress the heck with their coding fluency.
4. They are competitive programmers for some time
They don't have to be toppers or winning competitions. e.g. Yellow on Topcoder is sufficient.
5. They went to a particularly strong and competitive CS program
Some programs in the country prepare you for such interviews. Rare, and difficult to get into, but they do.
6. They got a soft interview-panel.
Interviews are heavily dependent on who interviews you. Especially at large companies, there is a wide variance in grading standard, experience in interviewing and beliefs, and hence there is a wide variation in talent, despite centralized hiring committees.
You need a bit of luck anyway, but sometimes you get an entire panel that you happen to gel with. A little bit of preparation and getting such a panel puts you over the magic line.
Read his biography - the entire reason he has been able to achieve everything he has in life is because he doesn't have such a close-minded and pessimistic attitude. Rather than just letting the conventions of society dictate what he gets and does, he instinctively finds ways to work around them. While everyone else is busy checking the boxes expected of them, he's already moved on to the next level.
Some lessons are learned by doing things and dealing with the results. He hasn't been doing this long enough to see the long term consequences of any decisions he made while developing software at App Academy because those consequences haven't happened yet. Also, App Academy is a small company with about 10-20 people. Lots of things that aren't important with 10 people become very important on software projects with 100 people.
None of what I said means he isn't intelligent or talented. It doesn't mean he didn't do good work while at App Academy or that he won't do good work at AirBnB. It just means he's inexperienced. That's not a bad thing but it isn't something you can change overnight.
This guy was able to accomplish a ton in a year, acquiring the technical chops to get offers at top companies like Google. If he can do that in one year, imagine where he'll be in another year.
I would call it healthy skepticism.
You and I were both wrong. He's evidently worth 2x that.
From the outside, I see a listing service that processes transactions and plots things on a third part mapping service. There isn't a complex dynamic market based auction system or anything like that. Can someone with more knowledge shed some light on what airbnb does that puts it on par with the work from Google (e.g. spanner, F5, borg, their SDN stuff, etc)?
I think him publicly posting this will cause a lot of resentment at his company. I wouldn't be surprised if there are PhD's with multiple years of experience at AirBnB making less in total comp than this guy.
It's been a while since I've worked for a pre-IPO company. Is it common for companies to give RSUs a dollar value instead of a number of shares and "heck if I know the valuation"? And how are RSUs different from straight ISOs?
Quoting them in dollars is probably not too wrong if you believe the company's valuation won't change much (which is probably true for these unicorns). Even groupon's valuation didn't drop more than one order of magnitude.
Many companies now have a buyback mechanism where the employer will buy back your RSUs at a pre-determined price (often the price per share in the last priced round).
Although the vesting schedule is the same as if it were options, the contracts often have a clause where technically the RSUs have not vested, in order to avoid capital gains taxes on a (fairly) illiquid asset.
In addition, it also shows how blind most companies are to talent - they're not interested in discovering the diamonds in the rough unless a company like Google does it for them.
As a hiring manager, I would be concerned that a candidate with such short exposure to the field and no real projects under their belt would just be too green to carry their weight.
 - https://twitter.com/mxcl/status/608682016205344768?lang=en
That depends on your definition of "norm". The average person could probably spend their entire life preparing for a Google interview and never get an offer. Others could enter any field of their choosing and reach a very high level of competency in just a matter of months. Seems like the OP falls in the latter category.
Nice job. Thanks for the transparency.
I was pushed into a project that had me crying to and from work. The stress was immense, but I thought I had little choice since my health insurance and house hold income provided everything for my family. I shopped around for a new job.
I found one that would work, but didn't have health coverage for 90 days. At this point I had an offer in hand. I told my management, at the time, unless I got another 20k a year, I'm walking to the other job. I got the raise.
Leverage is not bad. The company that you work for is probably only marginally committed to your well-being. They are totally committed to their margins. If you like your organization, but need more, leverage is your friend.
It's kind of hard to get a handle on what this means; on one hand the poster is quite obviously remarkably intelligent (ref: bio etc), on the other hand he has very little CS experience. The reader is left to imagine a problem that is just within their own reach to solve, while it might have been a very basic algorithm question...
In practice most companies will allow you to surrender non-liquid RSUs to pay the tax withholding so you don't have a massive tax bill from a non-liquid asset.
Or if just one offer ask for more than you want and would settle for. They won't rescind the offer and be willing to walk away.
It's also easier to get more options and RSUs because it's funny money not yet vested and not yet liquid.