“Don’t Be Evil”

When a person says to “trust them” are you the type who would then keep an even closer eye on his or her actions? Why would you ask for “trust” when I would have granted it to you in the first place? Isn’t that like being given a Bratwurst and then being asked if you would like some onions? It is a given….

So the first time I saw Google’s unofficial motto, “Don’t Be Evil” motto, I was taken back by the sheer audacity of the statement. Do you mean to say that you must have a motto that says “Don’t Be Evil” because if left to your own accord you would do evil?

Mottos are used to inspire people to action. Such great mottos are “Follow Me” or “Quality, Job One”. These mottos are clear, simple and lead with positive action. You look up from the factory floor or on the battlefield and see the words. They are understood and approachable and also have reinforcing effect on your actions. “Yes, quality will be job one.” But to “Don’t Be Evil” means your action is actually inaction against evil. “The temptation to be evil is strong, but I shall resist”. Hmm. Would it not be more appropriate to say “Always Do Good”?

Maybe we should see it as some sort of subterfuge. Like that movie “Mars Attacks”. At every turn of the invasion the little Martians kept saying “we come in peace” right before they blast the humans. What was great was that the people would pause and think “ah, maybe we had it wrong” right before they were eviscerated!

But, I would hate to waste too much time covering anything and everything Google as they surround each and everyone one of us. “Don’t Be Evil” but we will take a picture of your home and your private property without your consent. “Don’t Be Evil” but we will track your device and sell your buying habits to others. I could go on but just Google about evil Google and see what your results are.

Let’s give Google the benefit of doubt for a second. Maybe they just do not want to be evil, period. But as a matter of practice, I was always told never to use operative words that you do not want to become true. So to say “Don’t Be Evil” is equivalent to saying “don’t forget your keys”. What always happens when you say to yourself “don’t forget your keys”? You forget your keys! What you are supposed to think and say is “remember your keys”. Then, instead of forgetting, you remember. Ah ha, and your keys are in your pocket every time!

This means that Google will be predisposed to doing evil as it is the top (unofficial) thought of the organization. Imagine thousands of people doing evil in one organization and not even knowing why they are forgetting their keys. You see the crux.

Words are powerful things.

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