- A laid-off Google manager said he’s setting up a firm with six colleagues who also lost their jobs.
- Henry Kirk told Insider he’s giving himself until the end of March to set up the design studio.
- He said Google cutting his work email after eight years “stinks,” but he’s ready to do his own thing.
A Google manager who got laid off said he’s trying to set up a company with six former Google colleagues — and he’s given himself six weeks to do it.
Henry Kirk, who worked on improving the iOS and Android experience on Google apps for eight years, told Insider he was laid off on January 20. He was among the roughly 12,000 employees that Google announced would be cut from its global workforce.
“I was pretty bummed out for about five minutes, but then I said, ‘well I still have a family to take care of, I learned a lot, and I think I’m ready to do my own thing,'” Kirk said.
He immediately texted his team to see who else was affected and found that most had also been laid off. They started a group chat for moral support, he said.
Given how much Kirk enjoyed working with his team, he asked those on the group chat who would want to help form a startup with him.
Six people agreed to the idea of helping him build a design and development studio in New York as well as San Francisco.
Kirk said he’d take the position of a general managing partner. “First off, the goal is to get some projects in so we can start paying our bills,” he said.
He’s given himself and his colleagues until the end of March, when the 60-day layoff notification period ends, to establish a solid foundation for the company. This means he has just six weeks left to land projects.
Insider has verified Kirk’s employment at Google and viewed his severance email.
Asked about the time limit, Kirk said he and his colleagues agreed to a cut-off point because starting a business was “super risky.”
“Not everyone that I worked with is in the same financial situation. Some people have a family to take care of, some don’t, some have strong finances and they saved for years, others don’t,” he said.
Kirk’s broad plans for the company include helping other startups grow and get funding, carrying out engineering projects for businesses that don’t have the right experience, and offering design and research tools for other companies’ apps and websites.
“Since we have all worked together for so many years, we already know everyone’s strengths,” Kirk said.
Kirk said he loved working at Google. He liked the job, the employees, and the culture. He learned how to become both a better engineer and a better manager.
“I think of working at Google as not like a job, but more like attending Google University. I kind of feel like I always figured that I would’ve left one day,” he said. “Unfortunately, they made the choice for me of when I would graduate.”
The way Google cut off his email after eight years “stinks,” Kirk said. But the positive working environment he experienced at Google is something he wants to carry on into his new business.
Google didn’t respond to Insider’s request for comment.