'Fake Work' Was 'Exposed' By Layoffs At Google And Meta, Says Former PayPal Executive

Keith Rabois, an early PayPal executive, said that large tech companies needed to shed some workers.

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By Gabrielle Bienasz

Steve Jennings / Stringer I Getty Images
Keith Rabois in 2014.

Down with the "laptop class."

Keith Rabois joined the ranks of other Silicon Valley executives who have criticized companies like Meta and Google for being overstaffed and underproductive, Insider reported.

"There's nothing for these people to do — they're really — it's all fake work," Rabois said at an event hosted by banking firm Evercore, which he called into from Miami.

Rabois is something of a Silicon Valley mainstay who was an early executive at PayPal and thus part of a group of former employees and co-founders called the "PayPal Mafia," which also includes Elon Musk, currently the world's second-richest person, and Reid Hoffman, who co-founded LinkedIn and once was PayPal's COO.

Rabois is now the CEO of OpenStore, a financial technology firm that acquires Shopify stores with cash. His comments come amid massive layoffs in the tech sector, including approximately 12,000 Google employees, 11,000 Meta employees, (with reportedly more cuts to come), and 2,000 PayPal employees.

Related: 'Make Lists' of People to Let Go, Meta Tells Directors Ahead of Another Mass Layoff — Here's When It Will Happen

"All these people were extraneous, this has been true for a long time, the vanity metric of hiring employees was this false god in some ways," Rabois said at the event.

He further commented that Google had over-hired engineers to keep them away from the competition. While that strategy made sense in some ways, engineers could "sit at their desks and do nothing," he continued.

As the outlet noted, Rabois's arguments place him with other executives, venture capitalists, and founders, who have expressed skepticism about theoretically bloated remote workforces.

Marc Andreessen, for example, has tweeted disparagingly about what he called the "laptop class," which he says is "totally abstracted from tangible physical reality." Andreessen is a general partner at the legendary VC firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Laptop Class (noun): Western upper-middle-class professionals who work through a screen and are totally abstracted from tangible physical reality and the real-world consequences of their opinions and beliefs. Synonyms: Professional-Managerial Class; Orwell's "outer party".
— Marc Andreessen (@pmarca) April 10, 2022

Elon Musk, who bought Twitter and promptly cut its workforce dramatically removed remote work perks, replied to Andreessen's Tweet and said this group is "disconnected from what it takes to make stuff." Musk is also the CEO of electric car giant Tesla.

Related: Is Twitter Down Again? Links Aren't Working As Issues Pile Up for the Social Media Network

Andreessen has also said that the "good big companies are overstaffed by 2x. The bad big companies are overstaffed by 4x or more."

At the event, Rabois also said that the true nature of many tech workers' jobs had been revealed.
"Now that's being exposed, what do these people actually do, they go to meetings," he said.

Gabrielle Bienasz

Entrepreneur Staff

Gabrielle Bienasz is a staff writer at Entrepreneur. She previously worked at Insider and Inc. Magazine. 

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