yann lecun during a conference at epfl, lausanne, 5 october 2018 (1)

Meta’s AI Boss Regrets Turning Down Google Job

6th January 2024

In 2002 Google co-founder Larry page approached Yann Lecun to take up the director role at Google. He turned it down.

He passed on the position for a number of reasons, but according to him, had he taken the job, it might have completely changed the way Google goes about research.

LeCun explained on X (formerly Twitter) that Google co-founder Larry Page approached him back in 2002 with the job offer.

LeCun, who won the Turing Prize for his research in 2018, said he wanted to refocus on research in several areas, including machine learning. The deep-learning pioneer also said his family didn't want to move to California at the time.

He Mentioned His Reasons for Turning Down the Position

In 2002, Google was too small

First, Google was a relative unknown in 2002. “This was January 2002, before ads, gmail, etc.,” wrote LeCun.

Salary was too low

Secondly, he said the salary was too low. “Obviously, the stock option package would have ended up stratospheric.” But, as the scientist explains, he had two teenage sons, and the job would have required him to move to the more expensive Silicon Valley housing market.

My family didn't want to move

His third reason for declining, according to the post, was that he wasn’t keen on the idea of moving to Mountain View:

“My family didn’t want to move to California. You can’t uproot teenagers without them hating you for it.”

Finally, LeCun wrote that Google wasn’t doing the kind of research he wanted to be doing at the time.

Missed Opportunity

While some artificial intelligence (AI) researchers would be kicking themselves for passing up the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of Google’s success, especially as the AI market booms, LeCun ultimately managed to find a lucrative position at Meta, where he’s been since 2013. He didn’t mention what kind of stock options he’s getting there.

Related: How to Maintain a Balanced Keyword Density in content

For Google’s part, it seems to have done okay sans LeCun. However, as LeCun tells the story, things might have worked out a lot differently for the search giant if he’d accepted the position.

“Had I joined, I think the research culture at Google would have been different. I might have made it a bit more open and a bit more ambitious a bit earlier.”

 

In 2002 Google co-founder Larry page approached Yann Lecun to take up the director role at Google. He turned it down.

He passed on the position for a number of reasons, but according to him, had he taken the job, it might have completely changed the way Google goes about research.

LeCun explained on X (formerly Twitter) that Google co-founder Larry Page approached him back in 2002 with the job offer.

LeCun, who won the Turing Prize for his research in 2018, said he wanted to refocus on research in several areas, including machine learning. The deep-learning pioneer also said his family didn't want to move to California at the time.

He Mentioned His Reasons for Turning Down the Position

In 2002, Google was too small

First, Google was a relative unknown in 2002. “This was January 2002, before ads, gmail, etc.,” wrote LeCun.

Salary was too low

Secondly, he said the salary was too low. “Obviously, the stock option package would have ended up stratospheric.” But, as the scientist explains, he had two teenage sons, and the job would have required him to move to the more expensive Silicon Valley housing market.

My family didn't want to move

His third reason for declining, according to the post, was that he wasn’t keen on the idea of moving to Mountain View:

“My family didn’t want to move to California. You can’t uproot teenagers without them hating you for it.”

Finally, LeCun wrote that Google wasn’t doing the kind of research he wanted to be doing at the time.

Missed Opportunity

While some artificial intelligence (AI) researchers would be kicking themselves for passing up the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of Google’s success, especially as the AI market booms, LeCun ultimately managed to find a lucrative position at Meta, where he’s been since 2013. He didn’t mention what kind of stock options he’s getting there.

Related: How to Maintain a Balanced Keyword Density in content

For Google’s part, it seems to have done okay sans LeCun. However, as LeCun tells the story, things might have worked out a lot differently for the search giant if he’d accepted the position.

“Had I joined, I think the research culture at Google would have been different. I might have made it a bit more open and a bit more ambitious a bit earlier.”

 

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