mark zuckerberg talked about how he was happy creating a culture where great people should be able to come in, start being effective immediately, and move along after a year or so.
paul buckheit mentioned his reason for quitting google, it was basically, because you need to stir stuff up, he just went from a comfortable but awesome job to something completely different, a new challenge.
I couldnt help feel a bit depressed thinking about working for zappos for the rest of my life, no slight against zappos, they seem like an awesome company and I would love to have a chance to work there, just meant I could help felling depressed about working for any single company for the rest of my life.
Unfortunately it seems like the standard MO in this industry is to dangle a tasty carrot of an offer for jumping from your current ship, and then the gravy train stops, your raises can't cover cost of living increases, and your only way to advance is to jump ship again.
If your employees feel valued, feel like they're treated fairly, only a small portion will quit (the ones who just have to get up and do something else, and that's fine). If you have a persistent, significant problem with "hoppers" that speaks more about you as an employer than about your employees.
To my surprise, they not only took me out for a going away lunch, they even paid for it. While a job transition is stressful, professional treatment at exit does re-inforce goodwill (which is already earned: kind treatment on the way out, implies kind treatment while I worked there). I still endorse their products (on technical merits) and talk to my former coworkers there.
At the exit interview with my then-manager (who, by the way is great), I expressed my regrets at leaving so soon. While he was understandably upset, he mentioned that while short stints will close some doors, loyalty isn't an end to itself; he found that many candidates that stayed 15+ year for most of their career weren't very impressive during interviews.
Obviously, I think there are exceptions to this rule: if you're lucky to join a place with a strong hacker culture (e.g., Google, PARC, Bell Labs, Sun, Yahoo, IBM, Microsoft etc...) at the right time and on the right team, there's good chance you will be able to do rewarding work for a long time. However, the name alone is never a guarantee (there are plenty of non-interesting but business-crucial projects at these companies e.g., not everyone can work on Search or GMail at Google), nor do these companies last forever (as Sun's decay exemplified).
On the other hand, if you systematically stay for less than a year at various jobs (particularly at companies with longer development cycles e.g., bigger companies, or start-ups still in product-development phase), you might never get a chance to complete (or even undertake) challenging and rewarding projects.
This can lead to a vicious cycle: you will your work is always unrewarding (as you'll never stay long enough to either reap the rewards of the work or even receive challenging projects in the first place) tempting you to change jobs again. At the same time doors begin to close: the stigma of "job hopping" (Silicon Valley tech companies can understand 4 jobs in 5 years, 10 jobs in 10 years is a more serious red flag), lack of age-appropriate experience, confidence and leadership skills that come from finishing projects and shipping products, and "burned bridges" due to upset coworkers (who else would serve as your references?). In the end, you're ending up with progressively worse options.
There's a balance. If you're happy with the job, are learning and find the work itself rewarding, don't actively "go on the market". Don't leave before you get a chance to learn anything. However, once you feel you're either no longer learning anything new, or have not learned anything new at all after a year, do something. As I've mentioned in another comment, bring it up with leads/management first (something I regret not having done twice in my career): a manager will likely not realize you're underused and unhappy (provided you act in a professional manner and still do the job asked of you), many companies are open to internal transfers (most notably, but not exclusively, Google); furthermore this avoids the ambiguity of counter-offer (are they doing this because you've "put a gun to their head" and simply need you to finish a project, or are they genuinely interested in your success?) and stigma/un-professionalism of accepting one.
Choose your jobs carefully: is the focus of the company aligned with your interests, is the product valuable to you (e.g., if you don't understand the value of recreational social networking, Facebook -- otherwise a great company -- may not be a good place to work), will I be able to keep up with the greater technology curve in my specialty area, will I be able to learn new concepts (and not just new technologies), is the engineering team strong and influential? Don't optimize prematurely for salary and title (if your title is too senior, you might not receive the needed amount of mentoring or the chance to be a protege), don't guess whether or not you'll get rich from the stock options (if you're actually great at guessing the value of stock, consider a career as an investor), while you should know how long the company will be able to pay you (given their current burn rate) don't stress over current or rumored layoffs (I've declined two very interesting offers in Summer/Fall 2008 due to recent/possible layoffs, I grew to regret it. Is your most interesting offer from Yahoo? Then take it and ignore that Techcrunch and Gawker say!
Ask "will this job be valuable to me even if I don't stay there for a long time?", as chances are one that's valuable for two years is also valuable for five. If it fails after the two years, but the environment stimulated you to do great work, you'll not only walk away with knowledge but with respect of peers who will be ready to refer you to other jobs. Accept that you will make mistakes, be ready to (carefully and patiently) correct them and learn from them.
(footnote) Since the original article was prompted by Jason Calacanis' reaction to an employee leaving Mahalo -- his start-up -- to join Yahoo, I should note (to those in the Web 2.0 "reality distortion field") Yahoo still counts as a best place to work amongst the Fortune 500 (my first job out of college and also my longest stint as a full time employee) and Mahalo doesn't. Somebody leaving a hyped company to join one that is going through a difficult time to do work they find meaningful and interesting is someone I'd like to hire even if they have a few 11 month stints on their resume.
This is a VERY excellent point, now that you mention it, and probably a near-perfect shortcut to evaluating how the employer supports the learning, growth & wellbeing of the employee.
The second job I left banned former employees from their offices after I attended a user group there (!!).
The third one paid for my goodbye lunch and invited me back for the epic parties.
I would have happily stayed at the third jobs for years, if they'd just let me ship ANYTHING without derailing it completely.