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Schmidt admits that he thought the "don't be evil" slogan was stupid when he first came to Google

In a recent interview with NPR, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said that he used to think his company's famous slogan -- "don't be evil" -- was stupid.

NPR host Peter Sagal interviewed Schmidt recently on a segment called "Not My Job," which humorously speaks with important leaders and includes a game of some sort. 

Sagal asked Schmidt how Google came up with the slogan, "don't be evil." 

"Well, it was invented by Larry [Page] and Sergey [Brin]," said Schmidt. "And the idea was that we don't quite know what evil is, but if we have a rule that says don't be evil, then employees can say, I think that's evil. Now, when I showed up, I thought this was the stupidest rule ever, because there's no book about evil except maybe, you know, the Bible or something.

"So what happens is, I'm sitting in this meeting, and we're having this debate about an advertising product. And one of the engineers pounds his fists on the table and says, that's evil. And then the whole conversation stops, everyone goes into conniptions, and eventually we stopped the project. So it did work."

Sagal then humorously accused Schmidt of being the "businessman" type out of the group (among Page and Brin) who felt that an American business couldn't be evil. 

"You're coming in, like, you're a businessman who's been successful in all kinds of Silicon Valley business," said Sagal. "And you come in, and you're like this thing about not being evil, that'll never work in American business. What, are you crazy, kids?"

Sagal and Schmidt discussed a few other topics as well, such as Google Glass. Sagal asked Schmidt what the glasses are used for exactly. 

"Well, we don't quite know yet," said Schmidt. "We have maybe 2,000 of these. We've shipped them out to developers, and we're seeing what they develop. There's obviously issues, shall we say, of appropriateness of how people are going to use these things. There's a right time to have Google Glass on, and there's a right time to have it off, if you take my drift. 

"So kind of watch and see what people do with it and then decide what to do."

Source: NPR

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By ssnova703 on 5/14/2013 11:31:37 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not here to debate what is "moral" or what is "right"/"wrong".

However, it was commendable that Google seemed somewhat "accountable" to the public in it's "ethics" as a massive powerhouse of a search engine.

Years later, things have changed, they have publicly(who know's, what they succumbed to behind closed doors) bowed to subjective government requests at the expensive of personal privacy, etc. You basically sign away all your rights with any google accounts, etc. etc.

There is always a tradeoff, but let's just say as cool as Google is now, it's scary and perhaps even dangerous how much Google can "control" or leverage a person's personal data, especially if they are not accountable....

I forgot her name, but that worker at Google who used to be head of a department at google that would be accountable for Google's "ethnics" stepped down recently.... indicates internal strife..

By ssnova703 on 5/14/2013 11:35:35 AM , Rating: 2
Just adding to it, I agree Google glass is some awesome tech.

But just adds to what Google knows, already they know where you've been, what you buy, what you look at, all your emails, what you blog, etc. etc. No, I'm not paranoid, just stating stuff that people forget since google is such a regular part of most people's lives.

Just saying.. who's keeping Google in check?

By ssnova703 on 5/14/2013 11:37:42 AM , Rating: 2
Google is Big Brother's dream... lol, I meant to put that in the title.

By drycrust3 on 5/14/2013 4:23:41 PM , Rating: 2
Just saying.. who's keeping Google in check?

One of the best ways to keep them in check is for them to police themselves, and to do that they need some underlying foundation or philosophy that any staff member can point to and say "This direction we are going in isn't consistent with our corporate beliefs" and for people to pay attention.
A slogan like "Don't be evil" is one such way of doing this.

By Reclaimer77 on 5/14/2013 7:47:56 PM , Rating: 1
Just saying.. who's keeping Google in check?

About eight quadrillion state, local, and federal laws and regulations? Ten thousand oversight and regulatory Government agencies, consumer watchdog groups, and whistle-blower organizations. And about a billion lawyers waiting to jump on you if you so much as breath wrong.

Seriously was your post a joke? Businesses are anything but unchecked today.

By ssnova703 on 5/14/2013 8:35:42 PM , Rating: 2
About eight quadrillion state, local, and federal laws and regulations? Ten thousand oversight and regulatory Government agencies, consumer watchdog groups, and whistle-blower organizations. And about a billion lawyers waiting to jump on you if you so much as breath wrong.

Is your post a joke?? You really think the government protects and respects people's privacy and doesn't request illicit info from Google? ;)

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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