Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
China Businesses The Almighty Buck Technology

Beijing Startup Offers Engineers $1M Salary Plus Options in Battle For Talent (financialpost.com) 119

An anonymous reader shares a Financial Post report: Beijing ByteDance Technology is the brainchild of entrepreneur Zhang Yiming. The company is best known for a mobile app called Jinri Toutiao, or Today's Headlines, which aggregates news and videos from hundreds of media outlets. In five years, the app has become one of the most popular news services anywhere, with 120 million daily users. Toutiao is on pace to pull in about US$2.5 billion in revenue this year, largely from advertising. It was just valued at more than US$20 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter, roughly the same as Elon Musk's SpaceX. In China, the Beijing company is controversial because of its recruiting. ByteDance hires top performers from such giants as Baidu and Tencent Holdings, sometimes raising salaries 50 per cent and tossing in stock options. "Our philosophy is to pay the top of the market to get the best," says the slight 34-year-old in an interview at the company's headquarters, his first with foreign media. "The company that wants to achieve the most, you need the best talent." Top performers can make US$1 million in salary and bonus a year, plus options, according to people familiar with its hiring. Total compensation can exceed US$3 million.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Beijing Startup Offers Engineers $1M Salary Plus Options in Battle For Talent

Comments Filter:
  • $50,000 (Score:4, Funny)

    by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @10:23AM (#55321753) Homepage Journal
    I already make $50,000 working IT in Silicon Valley. Why would I want to move to Beijing?
  • Always wondered... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by w3woody ( 44457 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @10:27AM (#55321785) Homepage

    It's well known that the productivity difference between someone just starting in software development and someone who is proficient in the art of development can be as much as a factor of 20. (Source: Mythical Man Month, and personal experience.) Yet somehow the difference in compensation (unless you win the lottery in some startup IPO) is more like a factor of 2.

    This, unlike all other industries, where the difference in compensation correlates with the difference in productivity.

    I hope this starts a trend. And I hope the trend also correlates with a trend towards weeding out unproductive--but politically connected--developers who seem to be managerial favorites but couldn't code their way out of a wet paper bag.

    But I doubt it.

    • by pez ( 54 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @10:30AM (#55321815) Journal

      My experience is that at the low end of that 20:1 ratio is the dead weight that should never be in the programming profession. Those are the people you should really fire. A more reasonable number between an average contributor and a top contributor is 2:1 or 3:1... and you sometimes see that big a gap in pay.

      • by w3woody ( 44457 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @10:45AM (#55321929) Homepage

        I've seen much bigger productivity gaps between the best developers and average guys who have maybe 1 to 3 years of experience under their belt. I'm talking about folks who have mastered their art over the corse of a couple of decades and who could (for example) design and build a new programming language and a basic compiler proof of concept in a month.

        I understand that there are a lot of folks out there who are down on the idea of "superstar programmers" and who believe the idea that anyone mastering the art of development is somehow detrimental. But in my experience the ones who are the loudest to complain about substantial productivity differences are ones who have risen to "Senior Developer" status but who still engage in "voodoo stick" programming.

        • I understand that there are a lot of folks out there who are down on the idea of "superstar programmers" and who believe the idea that anyone mastering the art of development is somehow detrimental.

          It's worth remembering (and cited in MMM), that the 20-to-1 gap isn't present solely in programming. Rate-Busters have existing for years.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06, 2017 @11:02AM (#55322043)

          In my experience, the major difference between the most productive devs and the least productive devs isn't what they do. It is what they don't do. Experienced guys know where all the blind alleys are, where all the unneeded flexibility should be trimmed, and where all the bad requirements are that can be negotiated away.

          Been in the business for 20 years. I spend a lot more time making other developers productive than I do actually coding myself. By applying my experience to all of their work streams rather than just my own, I make the entire project run much much smoother.

          The trick is finding enough time to actually code myself to keep those skills up to date.

        • The problem with superstar programmers is they are hard to count on: they are difficult to recruit, offer no guarantees on retention, and can have friction with other superstars. From a productivity standpoint though... it is great working with them!

          In my field we used to call them Renaissance Engineers-- great cross-discipline knowledge and capable of wearing many hats in the organization. Specific to my field, you are likely limited to under 100 new graduates per year that fit into this category, and it

          • by Type44Q ( 1233630 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @01:30PM (#55323161)

            The problem with superstar programmers is they are hard to count on: they are difficult to recruit, offer no guarantees on retention, and can have friction with other superstars.

            So you're saying they're still people.

          • The problem with superstar programmers is they are hard to count on

            They are also hard to detect. How do you know someone is a "superstar" before you hire them? Many people interview well, and are even good at writing toy programs on a whiteboard. Yet they turn out to be mediocre programmers when doing real work on a bloated installed base.

            If you ask a team of programmers who is the "superstar" on their team, I doubt if they would all give the same answer. The team's manager might give yet another answer.

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          The corollary to the superstar programmer is that more productive engineers are allowed to take bigger risks in code deployment,allowing them to skip some rote development that a "less productive" engineer may be required to go through.

          When it works out, the more productive engineer is allowed to continue risk taking and becomes more productive.

      • by w3woody ( 44457 )
        As an aside, the "dead weight" you refer to, I've also encountered. And I would suggest some of them have negative productivity--meaning your team would have been farther ahead had you never hired them in the first place. (Which means you're paying money to slow your team down.)
        • by gnick ( 1211984 )

          I hired on as "dead weight". At best. By education, I have an MSEE but had only limited, self-taught, 20-year old programming experience. After parting with my EE job about a year ago, I hired on as my new company's sole "Programmer". (I was shotgunning my resume out and lucked into a great position that I was radically unqualified for - Must've been my irresistible charm.) I don't think that a 20:1 productivity ratio between my predecessor-at-retirement and first-day-gnick is an exaggeration. Not at all. D

          • by w3woody ( 44457 )

            Personally I have never had any problems with someone who is there and wants to learn and improve. Personally I like people who want to grow and develop as a programmer; hell, I was once a programmer who needed to grow and develop myself, a quarter century ago.

            The ones who piss me off, however, are the ones who completely fuck up the code base--and do so while arrogantly proclaiming their way is the right way, and who refuse to learn because they have nothing to learn from someone older (and thus, somehow d

            • by gnick ( 1211984 )

              The guy I replaced is quite a bit older than I am (35 yrs I'm guessing?) Those are years of experience, not deterioration. He wrote most of the 340,000 lines of C++ I inherited and, from what I can tell, still keeps it all in his head. Here I am a month into the job excited that I'm learning what the call stack is and how a debug assertion error works. After a year I've come a long way, but fully recognize how far there is to go.

        • by jbengt ( 874751 )
          Not in the field of programming, but we're currently trying to dig out of the hole that one of those negative productivity workers dug, about 3 months after firing him.
      • A more reasonable number between an average contributor and a top contributor is 2:1 or 3:1...

        You're only considering half[1] of the range, but even then I think your performance ratio is low.

        [1] Yeah, I know what mean, median, mode & skew are.

      • by PJ6 ( 1151747 )

        My experience is that at the low end of that 20:1 ratio is the dead weight that should never be in the programming profession. Those are the people you should really fire. A more reasonable number between an average contributor and a top contributor is 2:1 or 3:1... and you sometimes see that big a gap in pay.

        Counting this dead weight, which is everywhere, the ratio is actually worse.

        I worked with one man that accomplished exactly nothing in seven months. So that's infinity:1.

        Worse than that is broken work that becomes more expensive to correct than it took to write. Now we're into negative territory.

        I see negative ratios all the time. People coding, who could have been used far better if they were made to sit in a corner and not allowed near a computer at all.

    • couldn't code their way out of a wet paper bag.
      To be fair, if I was in a wet paper bag I am not sure anything I code would help me out either. I would probably stop coding to get out of the bag and dry off before coding again. Obviously, I am not a rock-star programmer if I can't even code myself out of a wet paper bag!

    • It's well known that the productivity difference between someone just starting in software development and someone who is proficient in the art of development can be as much as a factor of 20.

      Oh, it gets worse than that. You can have folks who actually have negative productivity.

      They build super ingenious bugs that require your best developers to find and fix. Thus, stealing their time from developing, and reducing the overall productivity of the entire project.

      Also, these days, a salary of a million dollars is laughable: I want one million billion dollars!

      • by w3woody ( 44457 )
        If their productivity is negative 1 and they're paid $60k/year, and your productivity is 10x average, then doesn't that imply being paid negative $600k/year? :-P
        • by jbengt ( 874751 )
          Actually pay rises as the square root of productivity, so we're in imaginary territory here.
      • "They build super ingenious bugs that require your best developers to find and fix."

        But we are in DevOps land right now! and full stack development too!

        This means that devs get more responsibilities at arch and ops... I just went out of one and a half month of work rethinking and refactoring a piece of functionality already deployed on production, which should have taken me two-three days to build a new -and that took a half a dozen people team about two weeks to develop first time. Now it works, will wor

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @10:29AM (#55321807)

    Chinese Overtime and most of pay is in locked stock also we can you right before it vests and you get 0

  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @10:45AM (#55321919)
    Is that the new standard of company valuation measurement? Or do /. editors have an Elon Musk mention quota to meet every freaking day?
    • I just happened to notice your comment here and I need to ask you:

      Do you have an Elon Musk mention quote to meet every freaking day? Because yours is the first mention of Musk I see on this thread. Do you collect a 'first post' bonus in addition to meeting your quote requirement?

      • by tomhath ( 637240 )

        Do you have an Elon Musk mention quote to meet every freaking day? Because yours is the first mention of Musk I see on this thread.

        No, but I did read the summary. Did you?

  • by computational super ( 740265 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @10:46AM (#55321931)
    Whenever I read about tech companies trying to attract "top talent", I'm reminded of a guy that I used to work with. Actually sat right next to - we worked together in one of those "collaborative" open office nightmares. This guy seemed to know everything. Every time somebody had a problem they couldn't figure out, they brought it to him. He taught me how to read Oracle explain plans, how to use Excel pivot tables, and how to write Emacs macros. Well, since I sat right next to him, we ended up getting to know each other pretty well over the course of a year - turns out this guy was a legitimate genius. He taught himself to program in elementary school, started college when he was 12, had a master's degree in CS, had published a couple of books about cryptography... he even spoke like four languages. I finally got around to asking him, "no offense but... why on Earth do you work HERE?" He seemed surprised by the question - turned out he had been out of work for a year before landing this (relatively unglamorous) job working on insurance software. He listed some of the places he had interviewed and been rejected for - all "brand name" places, all places that insist that they're trying to attract "top talent". Now, he was an older guy (mid 40's I think) and personality-wise a little bit like Milton from "Office Space", but it didn't take much time talking with him to know that he was exactly the type of "tech guy" you'd want in any position, but he had major trouble finding any work at all. The kicker? They downsized him after about a year... but they still kept me. No idea why.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06, 2017 @11:04AM (#55322047)

      People generally hire other people they like. If they are actually productive its a plus. I've noticed in jobs and in life your pay grade is dependant upon how much people like you. Management probably thought he was weird so out he goes.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think there's a general perception in tech over the last ten years that "top talent" = "under 30". Age discrimination is prolific, to say the best. I'm already 36. I fully expect to return to a low-paying retail or service job by the time I'm 50.

    • by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @11:08AM (#55322089)

      The kicker? They downsized him after about a year... but they still kept me. No idea why.

      The main issue is that the management had no idea what they're doing. You can't attract and maintain talent if you have no idea what it looks like to begin with. The second factor is that in absence of an ability to recognize talent, people fall back on other methods and poor Milton here probably wasn't overly personal or the type to make friends with the weasels in middle management.

      • by stanjo74 ( 922718 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @04:02PM (#55324337)
        All organizations I've worked at want "top talent", but they don't know what to do with top-talent or don't have the environment for top-talent to perform disproportionately well. So, the top-talent are only slightly more productive than average, but they are fickle (don't take BS from management/business, no loyalty), not very likable (straight shooters, try to change the organization), or outright a liability (don't fall for PC agenda, diversity programs, social skills not honed).
        In the context of medium to large organizations, it's best to hire "above-average" rather than "top" talent.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Genuine "top talent" people tend to have a low tolerance for taking bullshit from their bosses. They're seen as rebellious and hard to control. Nobody really wants to take a risk of having to corral some savant who sees through their bosses' walls of bullcrap and talks back all the time.

      When companies say "top talent" what they really mean is that they want a genius-on-paper-only who won't ever talk back ... the people who -- when it doesn't directly involve work -- don't really ever seem to have anything i

    • Wow. He knew how to use Excel pivot tables AND how to write Emacs macros? Truly a genius.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Was he an aging hacker who wrote viruses when he was 11 years old but couldn't find work anywhere as an adult? Wonder why?

      Tech companies don't hire tech talent. Tech companies don't pay top salaries. Tech companies run fake news stories to try to scam their competitors into wasting money paying top salaries, to run their competitors out of business. Top tech talent ends up permanently unemployed, slowly starving to death while they work on hobby projects in their basements. Top tech talent spams the tech c

      • Tech companies run fake news stories to try to scam their competitors into wasting money

        And lobby congress to increase the (low-wage, slave-wage) H1B visa cap.

    • Something people overlook is that there's a world of difference between having talent, and having people around you recognize your talent.

      This is especially the case with IT and software development. To quote "The Story of Mel":

      I have often felt that programming is an art form,
      whose real value can only be appreciated
      by another versed in the same arcane art;
      there are lovely gems and brilliant coups
      hidden from human view and admiration, sometimes forever,
      by the very nature of the process.

      Just like in your ex

      • by Pulzar ( 81031 )

        In a company, talent isn't important. You need to be perceived as having talent that makes the company a profit, and whether or not that perception matches reality isn't really important.

        The rest of what you wrote about communication is spot on, but this conclusion in a bit too cynical, in my opinion.

        Talent is important, otherwise there's nothing to advertise. There's only so much that you can do to mediocre work to make it appear great to higher-ups, and most managers will still prefer to advertise the wor

    • Hiring in technology is 80% personality and 20% skill. Sad but true.
      It's the job of management to help disparate personalities all get along together, but tbh management these days is just a stick to make sure people are working.
    • No idea why.

      Clearly you didn't remind HR of Milton from Office Space.

      It's good to be a gangster...

    • Truth is, software companies don't give a flying fuck about attracting or retaining talented employees. As evidence, look at the worthless office space where they require people to work. Low floor, no view, open plan, cubicles, children's toys, junk food buffets. The space reeks of contempt for those who must work in it.

      Remember - talk is cheap, but good real estate is really fucking expensive.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @12:11PM (#55322481) Journal
    If you compare the total compensation this company will be in line with many American companies.

    The big difference is, in America almost all the compensation will be taken up by the PHBs in C$O titles and very little will be given to the developers and front line managers. In addition they developers will be called code monkeys by the C$Os derisively when they are having their three martini lunches in the corporate suite.

  • by FeelGood314 ( 2516288 ) on Friday October 06, 2017 @12:46PM (#55322745)
    And all three are exploited, making 100k-150K salaries. The best developer I ever met started at what is now a very large and well know company as a high school student. 20 years later the company has 5000 engineers. If it was a choice between him and 200 random engineers at the company, management wouldn't even debate it, everyone knows he's the smartest person they ever met. The frustrating part is in all three cases management knows they have people that are worth over a million a year and that these people are responsible for a significant part of the companies profit but they still treat these people worse than their average employee.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's typical for senior and principal SW engineers to make 300k+ a year at Facebook, Google, Amazon and Microsoft. It's normal to hit these levels when people are in their 30's. This is not rock star pay, but typical pay at these companies.

      So if your rock star acquaintance is that talented and only making 100k-150k/year, it's because he/she has other major constraints. Refuses to move, can't work with others, crippling social anxiety, etc. Blaming this on "management" is short sighted because this person co

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Remember, the people in the IT department at any company are seen as a cost center. Unless you are programming in a company that produces software you are seen as a liability not an asset.

  • You can make an argument that football players, CEOs and bond traders are underpaid rather than overpaid because their salary seems a lot compared to minimum wage but if you look at at as a percentage of what they make for the people who pay them they're getting screwed.

    For a startup with a few people you can make the case for IT people getting paid a tonne of cash, provided they can meet brutally tough performance goals.

    Of course it's harder to justify this sort of thing for the average computer janitor wh

  • $640k is enough for anyone.

Why did the Roman Empire collapse? What is the Latin for office automation?

Working...