in my humble opinion, the only time you should pass up an offer like that is to work on your own startup. after all did you not apply, and interview, and compete fo, and WANT the job? i don't get it.
sorry, it's just too good of an opportunity. jeez. at least someone else got a shot because this guy passed it up.
I ended up leaving after what was considered a surprisingly short time because I didn't particularly like living in the area. There are other aspects to life than having a famous employer.
That said, I'm with you that it's an attractive opportunity. But founding a company of your own is just one of many reasons to pass. Personally, I value telecommuting.
I remember seeing a post by someone asking for advice, his problem being "what can I do to counter people's assumption that <I am typical of people with the same credentials as I have>?" (<>s mark my paraphrasing).
This problem is, in fact, a source of great aggravation to almost everyone I know.
And the best response, which stuck with me, was "nothing; it's an assumption by someone you don't know".
There really are a host of advantages to dealing with other people in person. And if you're thinking of hiring a stranger, you really don't know most of what you want to know. And the connection between workplace and remote worker is necessarily more tenuous.