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Googling for Sociopaths  (View post)

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

Tuesday, December 15, 2009
9 years ago4,743 views

"So naturally the sociopaths are outraged that their control is being taken away. Newspapers, book publishers, television companies, ad agencies — their businesses are all failing, while Google’s is on the rise.

The thing that’s hard for the sociopaths to get their head around is that this isn’t because one of their rivals has outsmarted them — it’s just the march of technology.

The shift isn’t Google’s fault any more than America should be blamed for breaking off from Pangea."

aaronsw.com/weblog/googled

Above 1 comments were made in the forum before this was blogged,

DPic [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

xD! Excellently put

Seth Finkelstein [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

This is just more of the propaganda that Google is "us" and its opponents are "them". The same stuff has been written about other companies when it fit the storylines being peddled.
  

Jim [PersonRank 0]

9 years ago #

Amen.

Yano [PersonRank 1]

9 years ago #

if the user (us) benefits then that's what matters and Google's agenda much more than most correlates with our best interest, and i agree with the points made here entirety, it's not perfect but it's the company i'm most excited about.

EvilMadResearcher [PersonRank 1]

9 years ago #

Gr8!

Ianf [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

Aaron Schwartz [="bold progressive: activist, writer, hacker"]: "[...] at least they’re not sociopaths."

Well put. But. What if [Sergey and Larry] are sociopaths in the making? :-)) Then we're Dooooooooooomed.

Juan [PersonRank 0]

9 years ago #

Don't recall Pangea! Don't recall Pangea! Such ominous events should be maintained out of public scrutiny!

Thanks

A. M. Monite

Brandon [PersonRank 0]

9 years ago #

Excellent post , You've definately hit the
nail on the head, I just don't understand why people quite get what you're saying.
I'm not for sure how many people I've talked to concerning this very
thing in the past week, and they just don't understand.

Never the less, Excellent post!

Juan [PersonRank 0]

9 years ago #

Every comment you do, this post gets more and more attention and more and more people start to think about Pangea. Are you sure about what you are releasing, you fool?!

Penitengiagite!

Matt Cutts [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

"This is just more of the propaganda that Google is "us" and its opponents are "them"."

Seth, this is a piece by Aaron Swartz, a non-Googler who wrote this fairly critical post about Google: aaronsw.com/weblog/googlife

So I didn't take Aaron's most recent piece as pro-Google; he clearly believes that Google has both good and bad aspects.

Emorej Opilf [PersonRank 1]

9 years ago #

[put at-character here]Matt Cutts
Do you believe Google (the strategy) has bad aspects (for users)? What are they?

Seth Finkelstein [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

Matt, I'd read Aaron's previous piece – I've known him for a while (n.b., I like him!), and even occasionally comment on his blog. But as people have pointed out in the comments on his blog on this particular piece, it's far too fluffy and Google-gushing. This is not contradicted by the fact that Aaron has written other pieces which are not so fluffy and Google-gushing (I didn't say the author always writes this stuff). Google follows the imperatives of being a big business, and that makes it as much of a sociopath as any corporation of similar size and circumstances. Too many tech people see Google as somehow uniquely morally better than others – in no small part because Google cultivates that image ("don't be evil").

I remember back when Microsoft was the "cool" company – it was liberating us from the tyranny of the IT mainframe priests. Bill Gates was said to be a geek, like us! A dorky guy who had glasses and wore sweaters, not a slick suit. And it was just as much a fantasy as Google's current image management.

Matt Cutts [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

"Google follows the imperatives of being a big business, and that makes it as much of a sociopath as any corporation of similar size and circumstances."

I'd disagree with that, Seth. If you listened to Eric's comments in the recent BBC radio piece, he said that many people, including the founders, have the attitude that the money/profits were the mechanism by which to effect change in the world, rather than profits being the sole objective. I've heard Eric make similar statements before, and as an employee of the company for nearly a decade, that's the view that resonates more with me.

Emorej, I believe that much of Google's success arose from consciously making an effort to align our interests with the interests of our users. From not showing pop-up ads on google.com to not partnering with scumware, many of Google's best choices have been to leave money on the table in the short-term when it would annoy users. The premise is that long-term user loyalty is more important than short-term revenue improvements.

Seth Finkelstein [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

Matt, are you seriously making an argument based on what the CEO *said* in fluff interviews? What in the world do you expect him to say? ("Greed is good. We want to rule the world. Kneel before us, serfs!"). Even in my relatively low-level involvements with journalism, I've met too many people who don't hesitate to lie straight through their teeth, and they're often quite slick when doing interviews. It's a stock corporate line to talk about what wonderful things the company is doing, how it helps humanity. They do that sort of PR precisely because it's appealing. But that doesn't make it true.

You're also spinning a "morality tale", where success is attributed to virtue, rather than market conditions and prosaic business strategies.

Mysterius [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

It's certainly healthy to remain perceptive and keep Google on its toes concerning good behavior, but assuming a cynical attitude doesn't appear constructive to me either.

If that's the attitude we all adopt, then we will neither expect nor ever receive anything better. If we show that we appreciate and encourage benevolence, then we can *make* it a successful strategy.

The future favors neither cynicism nor optimism, just reality.

Seth Finkelstein [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

Point 0: Google is a mammoth corporation, and has all the imperatives of such a beast.
This should not be considered an arguable statement, but rather, a trivial one. Tales of the virtue of the Great Leader(s) should be given no weight – there's an entire industry devoted to manufacturing that PR.
I see no way that credulity and gullibility yield any positive ("constructive") result. To the contrary, expecting billionaire managers to care if we "appreciate and encourage benevolence" strikes me as a fairy-tale.

Mysterius [PersonRank 10]

9 years ago #

Google as an enterprise seeks to achieve its own self-interest? No contest there!

What determines self-interest, though, and how is it achieved?

When leaders aspire to beneficence, yes, it is PR. It is (hoping to) improve public perception, so it is driven by self-interest.
Corporate philanthropy is also PR-driven. The latter demands some small or large cost to earn public goodwill. As it's driven by self-interest, this public perception must be valuable to the enterprise.
Its self-interest and the public good are not mutually exclusive.

It is not unreasonable to support good leadership, either. Eric Schmidt's comments concerning privacy merited critique because, as CEO and influential shareholder, he plays a large role in divining where Google's pursuit of self-interest will take it, and the direction he suggested was not palatable to many privacy-advocates.
In turn, we could give support to Brin and Page's overtures by commenting favorably on the direction they espouse.

If by corporate self-interest, they respond to this public perception, so much for the good.
If by personal self-interest, for businessmen are not their companies and may harbor their own desires/interests, they seek to steer corporate interests in mutually beneficial directions, so much the better.
We the public may vote with our opinions and commerce.

If we believe only in the basest desires, then there is no reward for virtue. That is not intrinsic; we make it so.

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