Just missed millions: These 8 people walked away from early jobs at billion-dollar companies

Ali Fedotowsky

Ali Fedotowsky walked away from Facebook when she opted to be ABC’s Bachelorette.

Robert Cezar Matei missed his chance to join early Facebook, Square and Instagram teams.

It’s impossible to know which startup is going to become the next billion dollar success story, and the risk of letting a golden opportunity slip through your fingers is something that tech workers grapple with every day.

While some who turn down lucrative offers still achieve success — Instagram’s Kevin Systrom is a prime example — others may come to live in regret.

Here are how some Silicon Valley techies missed opportunities to make millions at companies like Facebook and Instagram:

Instagram wanted Amanda Wixted to be its first hire but she was cozy at Zynga.

First, we should note that Wixted is plenty successful. She joined Zynga as an early employee and stayed through its IPO. But she probably could have made even more millions if she had left for Instagram when it came calling in 2010.

Wixted writes about her missed opportunity on Quora:

In June 2010, Mike and Kevin were just getting started on their mobile web app which they called Burbn.  I was a lead engineer on the mobile team at Zynga at the time.  Mike contacted me about coming on board as their first hire.  We met, and they showed me their ideas for where they were thinking of heading with Burbn: a photo-sharing mobile app.

… It was a great team fit, but I just couldn’t get excited about a photo-sharing app.  I felt, and I still feel, that I need to be working on more complicated things, so I’ve stayed in the games space…Of course, I’m kicking myself now.  Hindsight is 20/20 and all.

Now, Wixted is the founder of Meteor Grove Software and serves as CTO for e-learning company Homer. 


Ali Fedotowsky left Facebook to become the lead on ABC’s “The Bachelorette.” Sadly, she and the guy she picked didn’t work out.

In 2009, Ali Fedotowsky faced a dilemma: She was a contestant on “The Bachelor” dating pilot Jake Palveka. In a tearful goodbye, she left Palveka to return to her job at Facebook. Fedotowsky had run out of vacation days while filming the show and didn’t want to miss out on millions.

But when ABC offered to make her its Bachelorette, Fedotowsky left her sales rep gig at Facebook. Two years after her March 2010 departure, Facebook had a massive IPO that turned many of its employees into millionaires.

Fedotowsky’s engagement to contestant Roberto Martinez ended shortly after the show aired and while Facebook didn’t re-hire her, she went on to be a host on NBC’s “1st Look.” Now, Fedotowsky is married to TV and radio host Kevin Manno and writes a blog called Ali Luvs.

Julian Targowski was offered a role at Instagram in 2011 but walked away to launch his own app.

Julian Targowski was offered a role at Instagram in October 2011 but walked away to launch his own app.

He says he wasn’t even interested in the offer because he was loyal to his own team.

“I don’t regret a thing,” he says on Quora. “You realize a lot of things about yourself (how content you are with your current situation, how hard you’re working, where you want to be in the next few years, etc) when things like this happen.”

Targowski went on to work at a startup called DailyBooth, which was acquired by Airbnb in 2012. 

See the rest of the story at INSIDER
Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/people-missed-millions-silicon-valley-startups-2017-5


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