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Google Gave Us Rope to Hang Them With October 5, 2005

Posted by theexpert in Business.
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IWantMedia interviews John Battelle (co-founder and founder of magazines Wired and The Industry Standard, respectively) on the subject of Google, Yahoo, and “traditional media.” It ends with a question about Google’s famous motto: “Don’t Be Evil”. John’s response:

That motto will slowly sink into the ocean of history. As Jeff Bezos once told me, and I put in the book, of course you should strive not to do evil. No company is going to have a motto “Be Evil.”

What they were trying to say with “Don’t Be Evil” is: Don’t fall into the trap of doing things the way most large corporations do them simply because that’s how they do them. I don’t think they anticipated it was going to become a length of rope that might hang them

(emphasis is mine)

I agree that their motto serves as a length of rope, and maybe they really didn’t anticipate giving that rope to users like they did. However, the fact that they did give us this rope is one thing I (and I think other Google users) like about Google. They’ve set a high bar for everyone to measure their actions against, and because they make their motto so prevalent, we’ll be quick to kick the chair out from under them (or at least nudge it to remind them of the position they are in) if they falter. Of course, we should want to hang any company that doesn’t treat us right, but a company that stands up on the chair and gives you the rope for the noose before they get started inspires confidence and trust. If John is right, and the motto fades away, I have a feeling that an important part of the Google loyalty that it engenders will have faded away as well.

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