For Google, their much-touted slogan of “Don’t Be Evil” seems to do more harm than good. It so easily generates somewhat critical articles, like the Forbes item, More Evil Than Google?, or Joel Hruska‘s article, Google struggles to see no evil, speak no evil. Hruska summarizes it thus:
As Google continues to grow rapidly and absorb more companies operating in a wider variety of areas, its operations and policies become, of necessity, more complex and murky, and the company’s informal motto of “Don’t Be Evil” becomes even harder to uphold in appearance and, perhaps, even in reality.
If the slogan does not do much outside the company and probably not much inside either, perhaps it’s time to look for a new one. Another major US entity was apparently looking for a slogan earlier in the year but abandoned the attempt. Some of the suggestions for a better slogan for NASA might at first glance be worthy of consideration:
- NASA: Giant steps for humankind.
- NASA: Above and beyond for humankind
- NASA: Pushing life further
- NASA: Forging the Future
- NASA: To Strive, To Seek, and Not To Yield
Such thoughts particularly come to mind with the latest venture from Google, which they dub Knols. Udi Manber, VP Engineering, believes these knols will encourage people to contribute knowledge. However outsiders have more reservations. Duncan Riley suggests that the Google Knol may be A Step Too Far. Michael Gray suggests that Google Knols give insights on Google’s Philosophy.
According to Google’s mission statement their objective is to organize the worlds information, however what they often leave out is they feel they should be stewards of that information as well. If taking control of your information fits into their mission statement, oh well the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. ..
While not necessarily agreeing with their philosophy, in a later item Gray satirically suggests it is better to take whatever opportunities you can from this initiative.
All this is pretty heady stuff. Google has publicly stated that Knols may never see the light of day and that raises a very important question. Google is a public corporation with stakeholders. That includes shareholders. Perhaps all of these NASA-like possibilities run counter to the clear objectives to improve shareholder values. Focus, Focus, Focus is still a good rule. A good slogan might help to let everyone know what that focus is.
“Don’t Be Evil” provides no direction whatsoever. It’s really no better than that Tom Peters‘s slogan “We’re No Worse Than The Other Guy”. A better slogan for Google would simply provide direction both to outsiders and to insiders. That would be very much better than one that leads only to criticism or derision. If you feel you have one that would work better for Google, why not suggest it below.