The talent. Meebo was started by Stanford grads who demonstrated their talent in developing a product and a launching company. It'd be a safe way to hire a few competent engineers, and I doubt the acquisition price contains much goodwill.
Unfortunately tons of firms put a huge value in this. Try getting a high level rockstar-ninja-badass (lol) engineer job, especially at a bay area startup, without some sort of pedigree from a named institution. Its bullshit, but reality.
Google used to, might still, place a degree from a top-tier institution as the first requirement in upper level job postings.
> Unfortunately tons of firms put a huge value in this. Try getting a high level rockstar-ninja-badass (lol) engineer job, especially at a bay area startup, without some sort of pedigree from a named institution. Its bullshit, but reality.
I've worked at or (or received employment offers from) quite a few "name brand" Bay Area technology companies, have received recruitment email/etc. from many more, despite going to a university most haven't heard of.
Silicon Valley is much more meritocratic than Wall Street: if you can't pass a coding interview, the name on your diploma will not help you. A name on your diploma might make it easier to get interviews lined up as a student, but undergraduate research, open source contributions, referrals from other employees, are much more useful for that purpose.
That's not to say SV is without its own brand of homogeneity: ironically, whenever I am on Stanford campus, I am amazed at how much more diverse it is compared to the rest of Palo Alto.
Stanford is not an elite school, it's a status school with what many say is a huge amount of grade-inflation. Elite schools are ones like RPI, Bard, various sports schools (Michigan/Okla, UNC, etc.), and so on. The only "elite" quality Stanford has is its location and the presence of a few celebrities.
The price is rumored to be $100M. Google and others regularly pay $2-3M per engineer... More for kickass devs/leaders. And certainly they'd probably pay a premium for larger dev teams. In other words, they'd rather buy 1 company with 25 engineers for $100M than lots of tiny companies (due to the corp dev overhead of buying a company).