GOOG CEO says "Don't Be evil" is misunderstood

GOOG CEO says "Don't Be evil" is misunderstood

Summary: This is interesting. Take a look at this story in which Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, says the company's mantra of "Don't be evil" is often misunderstood.


This is interesting. Take a look at this story in which Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, says the company's mantra of "Don't be evil" is often misunderstood.

Reuters' Eric Auchard: Google CEO talks of good, evil and monopoly fears

In an on-stage interview with writer Ken Auletta of the New Yorker magazine, Schmidt said "Don't be evil" is meant to provoke internal debate over what constitutes ethical corporate behavior, rather than representing an absolute moral position.

"We don't have an 'Evilmeter' we can sort of apply -- you know -- what is good and what is evil," Schmidt said. . .

What is there to misunderstand? I would have thought determining what is good and what is evil is quite clear.

Mr Schmidt seems to be saying that being "evil" is open to debate.

Maybe GOOG will adopt the following changes:

- Don't be quite so evil

- Don't be really really evil

- Don't be evil-ish

Anyone have any other suggestions? (Or moral pointers?)

Topic: CXO

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  • Google and Fair Isac

    Two most modern day evil compaines!
    • RE: GOOG CEO says

      That is a good article, thank you. <a href="">hermes bags</a>
  • RE: GOOG CEO says

    who/what is Fair Isac
    • RE: GOOG CEO says

      Every check your credit score? Fair Isac is the company that created the formula that determines what your score is.
  • Evil?

    By what absolute scale does one determine whether a given act or policy is "evil"? Relativism, particularly in a corporate context, makes it a somewhat slippery concept. As a corporate strategy, perhaps it can be best interpreted as deliberately avoiding the infliction of harm on the population. Or maybe to avoid exploitation. Actually, it's pretty meaningless; as well to say "always do good", though that has some nasty (from a shareholder's point of view) connotation of charity...
    Jason Etheridge
  • Situational ethics

    TRANSLATION: "Trust us, because we are wise, experienced, and have the wisdom needed to properly guide our flock (meaning their users)."

    PERSONAL RESPONSE: "Trust you with all that? Dude, you can't be serious."
    • Again, they are only admitting they are not perfect. This does not mean

      that hey are not committed. You can not define evil.
  • Why is anyone surprised by this?

    Moral relativism has been the holy mantra for years, now.

    Google's "Don't be evil." simply means that if Google doesn't
    think it's evil, it isn't. And how dare you judge them!
    • I think he was just being humble and admitting that the "don't be evil"

      slogan is not the end all be all to every corporate problem, it is only a start. They are still committed. There is a fine group of executives running Google.
  • What is evil is very debatable. For instance, Google apples this principle

    to data, so that it must be importable and exportable in open formats. They can not lock up your data. Are companies that do not allow export of data in open formats "evil"????
    • Google will debate what should be open with content providers though

      I present the prime evidence in my case: Google Book Search
  • Wow. Talk about back-peddeling...

    I trust them even less now.
    • It is impossible to put a stake in the ground and say what is evil.

      It would be impossible for them to define evil. The policy can only serve to foster internal debate, and make sure that those that have a problem with policies get heard and can not be silenced like in many corporations. This is good, but obviously not perfect. Schmidt is just admitting that they are not perfect, and that the "do no evil" principle in and of itself does not guarantee there will never be problems.
  • RE: GOOG CEO says

    It sounds to me that the statement, "Don't be evil." is meaningless for Google now. I guess they've outgrown it.

    Years ago I remember an IBM executive quoted as say what the company wanted was a 100% market share of everything. Well, you knew where they stood.
    • They have not outgrown it, it is just that you need to understand its

      limits. "Evil" is impossible to define absolutely. But, that will not stop them from trying to implement a do no evil policy.
      • Bzzzt, wrong. Nothing to "understand".

        Most people have a very clear understanding of what is or is not "evil". They don't need google to re-define it.
        • And, if you read, Google is saying they are not the owners of the meaning

          of "evil". They are not trying to redefine anything. They just have a process to encourage discussion of what is appropriate and not appropriate. That is it.
        • No_Ax_[Left]_to_Grind's travesty

          of Eric Arthur Blair :

          [b]Microsoft[/b] good ; [b]Google[/b] bad.

          For certain people, there is indeed ?Nothing to "understand"?....

      • Evil is easy to define.

        Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.
        • correction

          That defines good, Evil would be not doing what is good, therefore Evil would be not doing onto others as you would have them do onto you.