Such a strong word
It is a company that is loved, and yet surprisingly hated -- if not despised -- by some. It is the friend whose little strange habits and quirks we once cherished. But now they annoy and grate on our nerves. It is a company that we have held up as a shining beacon of hope -- the giant killer. The company that could stand against Microsoft and the great evil empire.
But alas, the company is but the latest victim of the same pedestal on which we elevated Microsoft years before. Beware that pedestal, for it provides a perch that only looks downward. Sometimes when companies ascend to it, they start to believe they are separate, better versions of humans.
They start to believe their own hype; in that moment, they become lost.
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There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, between self-assuredness and hubris, and unfortunately Google is straddling that line. Why the perceptive shift in attitudes toward Google? What has the company done other than bring us fantastic tools? Tools, like Android, that have changed entire industries. Tools, like search, that have provided insight into the most remote corners of the world. Why is the simmering of discontent bubbling so intensely under the surface?
While researching this article, I was wholly surprised by the intensity with which people in the industry describe their dealings with the search giant. Where does it come from? Often, there is no single cause -- just an attitudinal shift that, when experienced en masse within a company, can have devastating effects on external perceptions. It could be something as simple as an arrogant statement heard in a bar: "I work for Google, asshole -- what do you do?" (I have heard several variations of this in San Francisco). Such a statement is designed to separate the speaker from others and infer inferiority on the listener. It's a sad reflection of someone whose bitterness from being picked on in high school is rearing its ugly head. Part of the attitudinal shift we're dealing with in this article comes from that separation -- and yet myriad other things as well.
But before I start listing reasons to hate Google, a note of temperance: Whatever personal story you have with Google -- be it good, bad, or indifferent -- let us all cut the company a break. It is but a precocious 12-year-old. And although many of the employees score off the charts on tests of mental intellect, many are emotionally inept. But their hearts are really in the right place. They are attempting to manage insane growth the best way they can, and "do no evil" really appears to be their intent. And intention is extremely important. It is at the core of separating evil from ignorance. Sometimes the company makes mistakes, and because of its size, those mistakes and decisions are amplified.
Read on to learn about five company practices that are currently pissing people off. Then tune in later this week for five more. As you'll see, you do not have to do evil to be a bit of a prick.