Facebook Swipes One of Foursquare's Top Engineers

By Beecher Tuttle November 15, 2010

The talent-poaching war in Silicon Valley became even more rampant last week when Facebook lured away a top engineer from Foursquare, one of the social networking giant's newest rivals.

Business Insider is reporting that Facebook was able to nab Nathan Folkman, who has been with the thriving location-based social networking site since its early days. Folkman has yet to update his LinkedIn profile, which still has him as the head of operations at Foursquare. Before taking that role, Folkman spent about two years at Betaworks and more than seven years at AOL, where he was a major part of the company's web team.

While Facebook has yet to confirm the role that Folkman will assume, most industry experts anticipate that he has been brought on to help improve Facebook Places, the company's location-based product that competes directly with Foursquare.

Facebook made a major effort to enhance its slow-growing Places feature by combining it with the recently-launched Facebook Deals program, which allows users to "check in" from restaurants, bars and other local businesses to receive discounts and coupons. If the initiative is successful, Foursquare could take a major hit.

Over the last year, talent-poaching in the technology space has become extremely prevalent. Just last week, Paul Buchheit, the creator of Gmail and the founder of FriendFeed, left Facebook to join the startup incubator Y Combinator. Buchheit had only been working at the social media company for 15 months.

Google has become so worried about losing its top talent to local competitors it decided to give its entire staff a $1,000 bonus and a 10 percent raise. The California-based company's management personnel were all give 30 percent raises on top of their yearly bonuses.

Furthermore, an unconfirmed rumor began circulating last month that Google gave one top engineer a $3.5 million bonus to reject a competing offer from Facebook.

Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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