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Thursday, October 25, 2018

When a colleague suddenly walks around in new tennis shoes...

An excellent article in the New Yorker about trade secrets, talent mobility, and Google v. Uber in the race for self-driving cars. The bonus is an inside view of the Silicon Valley culture, including as Mark Lemley put it to me, "perhaps the most Silicon Valley fact ever:"

Project Chauffeur employees began calling in sick so that they could interview with other firms or with venture capitalists. People started paying close attention to their co-workers’ shoes. “The only reason an engineer buys new, expensive sneakers is if they’re looking for a new job,” one person told me. Project Chauffeur’s hallways were suddenly filled with unscuffed Pumas and Allbirds. 

Posted by Orly Lobel on October 25, 2018 at 12:51 AM | Permalink


The new shoe conundrum might be an area of gender advantage - I am always happy to buy new shoes for no reason at all!

Posted by: Orly Lobel | Oct 26, 2018 11:26:03 AM

Last year I called to schedule a mid-day interview with an associate at anoather law firm. He said, "Great! But I'll have to wear jeans and sneakers so my current firm doesn't suspect I'm looking around." I don't recall if they were new sneakers or not. He works for my firm now.

He works here now.

Posted by: arthur | Oct 26, 2018 11:20:33 AM

What's the law school professor version of this? New suit? Tailored suit? Shined shoes?

Posted by: Anon | Oct 25, 2018 10:13:33 AM

Okay, so just like law enforcement officers wearing a new Rolex is an indicator that the officer is "on the take"; new expensive tennis shoes are an indicator of employees "on the move". Wow, the subtlety of it all.

Posted by: Paul Sonnenfeld | Oct 25, 2018 1:42:29 AM

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