Posts tagged Google

The three words Buchheit came up with would become the most well-known corporate values statement in the world, a central pillar in how we all think of Google—and, more importantly, how Google thinks of itself. The phrase is concise, unforgettable, and it seems to stake out novel moral ground for a corporation. Don’t Be Evil. How could anyone argue with that?

But Don’t Be Evil is a terrible way to go about marketing and running a company as dynamic as Google, and it’s long past time that the search company abandoned the idea as a way to define itself. One problem with Don’t Be Evil is that it’s uselessly vague. “Evil” is in the eye of the beholder—when you earn a userbase as large and devoted as Google’s, everything you do is bound to be considered evil by someone. Even worse, DBE is a negative formulation—it doesn’t tell Googlers what they should do, just what they shouldn’t. If “core values” are meant to serve any purpose at all, they’re to let executives and employees know the parameters of acceptable actions on the way toward fulfilling their corporate goals. Considered this way, Don’t Be Evil is worse than useless: It allows the company to commit pretty much any action short of mass genocide and still insist it’s acting for the greater good