John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

A Battle of Good Vs. Don't Be Evil

evil_scale.jpg

Now that Google (GOOG) has demonstrated that you can, in fact, make money without doing evil, it’s apparently willing to admit you can make even more without lending much credence to silly informal corporate mottos. Google’s moral relativism in quotations below.

2008

‘Don’t be evil’ is misunderstood. We don’t have an ‘Evilmeter’ we can sort of apply–you know–what is good and what is evil. … The rule allows for conversation. I thought when I joined the company this was crap… it must be a joke. I was sitting in a room in [the] first six months… talking about some advertising… and someone said that it is evil. It stopped the product. It’s a cultural rule, a way of forcing the conversation especially in areas that are ambiguous.”

Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt, June 11, 2008

It really wasn’t like an elected, ordained motto. I think that ‘Don’t Be Evil’ is a very easy thing to point at when you see Google doing something that you personally don’t like; it’s a very easy thing to point out, so it does get targeted a lot.”

Google VP Marissa Mayer, April 15, 2008

2006

Many, if not most, of you here know that one of Google’s corporate mantras is “Don’t be evil.” Some of our critics–and even a few of our friends–think that phrase arrogant, or naïve or both. It’s not. It’s an admonition that reminds us to consider the moral and ethical implications of every single business decision we make.”

Google VP of Global Communications and Public Affairs Elliot Schrage, Feb. 15, 2006

We actually did an evil scale and decided not to serve at all was worse evil.”

–-Google CEO Eric Schmidt on the company’s decision to offer a censored version of its search services in China, Jan. 30, 2006

2005

I think it’s much better than Be Good or something. When you are making decisions, it causes you to think. I think that’s good.”

–Google co-founder Larry Page, “The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture,” 2005

2002

Evil is what Sergey says is evil.”

–-Google CEO Eric Schmidt, December 2002


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work