If you have been around long enough in Silicon Valley, you see this story play out again – a start-up rises out of nowhere, is championed by the technology elite, becomes a successful company, and one day becomes a market leader, a dominant force. The market reality runs smack into idealism, and what follows is disillusionment.
Now it is Google’s turn, it seems. The company is being hit hard by a left-right combination. The GMail outage, Orkut downtime, the Zeitgeist fiasco, and their attempt at self-promotion (aka house ads) are some of the dark clouds that are gathering over Google at the tailend of 2006, arguably search-and-advertising company’s best year ever.
In large part, the current problems, and this scrutiny stems from their idealistic corporate motto, Don’t be evil. As a publicly traded company, they are right to promote their own products. Yahoo, Ask, Comcast and AT&T – all promote their services, they just don’t hide behind an idealistic motto.
Idealism is often sacrificed at the altar of capitalism, and Google is at that fork in the road. It is time to drop that idealistic motto. When it comes to trust, in these cynical times, do we really trust anything, anyone or any corporation? I don’t… do you?