You might have wondered about the reasons and forces behind a series of poor decisions made by Google within the last two years. From the gaffes of former CEO Eric Schmidt, Chrome OS debacle, Chrome OS netbook debacle, half-assed development of Android OS, building the ghost town known as Google + to its recent change in policies regarding pseudonym use and recent changes in user agreements.
Why would a company which was once so innovative and capable of getting things right lapse into such a pathetic state of affairs?
So let us start..
The first one involves the metastatic spread of “shareholder” capitalism. Fun fact- the vast majority of shareholders get screwed under shareholder capitalism. Unlike companies a hundred, or even fifty years ago, most large companies today are run with an eye on short term share prices and fluctuations thereof. Therefore almost no large company today is run for the purposes of generating decent and stable dividends or with ANY regard to the future of the business. Anything beyond the manipulated quarterly and yearly reports is irrelevant. The MBAs, lawyers, lobbyists, banksters and other assorted ivy-league CONmen run amock at the expense of everyone else aka short-termism.
Then there is the issue of how innovative corporations who grow quickly absorb the same petty scumnbags who populate other mediocre companies. I have written about this in some detail in a previous post- Sociopathy, Management and Emerging Organistional Dysfunction. The gist of the post is that innovative corporations that grow quickly end up being staffed and run by uninnovative, rule and procedure obsessed, power-hungry, petty “people” eager to flex their new-found power, with disastrous effects for the organization.
It is also worth mentioning that large hierarchical organizations such as corporations are full of cliques and sub-groups who spend a large percentage of the effort on sabotaging each other and wielding power to gain more control of the organization. Since our current setup isolates such power-hungry and insecure sociopaths from the consequences of their actions, they will often keep on playing their stupid and dangerous games until the coroporation they seek to take control of is no more. Microsoft has suffered from this on a large-scale since Bill Gates resigned as CEO and Steve Jobs was the only reason that Apple did not succumb to this problem as long as he was alive.
Finally there is the issue of “imperial” overreach in which the leader in a given area feels that they can get away with anything regardless of physical and temporal realities. Examples include England on the eve of WW1, France in Vietnam, USSR in Afghanistan and the USA in Iraq and Afghanistan. Corporate examples include IBM in computer hardware and the American ‘Big 3’ in automobiles etc.
While each problem is formidable in its own right, Google appears to have the misfortune of suffering from all four problems at once. While they have still not reached levels high enough to irreversibly cripple and implode the company- they could find themselves in that spot in as little as a year or two.
What do you think? Comments?
For the last few weeks, the internet was filled with a lot of opinion about SOPA, PIPA and similar laws. Based on what you read on various websites and blogs, it is obvious that most of you spent a bit too much time looking at the minutiae of these laws. I do not bother with that stuff, as it tends takes away from what they really represent.
Most of you see laws like SOPA, PIPA etc as the problem. But is that really the case?
Let me use analogies. Is the presence of metastases in various organs of a person dying from cancer anything more than the result of the underlying disease? Is the fever caused by an infection anything more than the symptom of the underlying illness?? Are bubbles in boiling water anything more than a visual manifestation of the water’s temperature?
The real problem is something far larger than SOPA, PIPA or anything in that vein. It is about an ongoing conflict between an increasingly unviable “elite” top-down version of the world and a more egalitarian world that is more compatible with current technological capabilities.
For those of you who might wonder if it technology can be stopped, I have a suggestion- read some history. Every nation, group or culture who tried to stop technological progress to maintain the status quo got their ass handed to them by those who did not. Furthermore, certain aspects of human nature prevents perfect cooperation between individuals however high the stakes, such that a world-wide implementation of anything that restricts the willing parties actions will be unstable. People are just too greedy, narcissistic and short-sighted to maintain disciplined collective action,especially if it is more profitable to abandon it.
That is why all agreements, treaties and contracts (even those between equal parties) ultimately collapse or become irrelevant.
Now this does not mean that the “elite” and various rent-seeking industries won’t try or even succeed passing or implementing such laws, if onlyin the short-term. While such doomed measures won’t change the direction of technological progress, such attempts could certainly cause short-term problems. Therefore I proposing a different way to deal with such “traditional minded” people.
Protest, petitions and other demonstrations of public opinion are short-term solutions to the problem- at best. Remember that you dealing with sociopaths whose are obsessed with maintaining power. It does not take a genius to figure out that the so-called democratic and “fair legal” systems in western countries are neither democratic or fair. Stopping one or two pieces of legislation does not stop the sociopaths from reintroducing it under a different name, rationalization and wording.
The only permanent solution to this problem lies in getting rid of those who benefit from legacy systems.
That implies destroying their core model of business and very existence. There are various ways and combinations thereof to achieve that goal. While the obvious ways of eliminating people and their progeny are, should we say, rather obvious- many of the not so obvious ways of doing that appear fairly harmless. Let me illustrate this point with an example or two.
As many of you know- there are only 24 hours in a day. In previous eras you were forced to consume print and audio-visual media produced by organized mafia-like industries with the ability to create and distribute content. Today we have many other ways of entertaining ourselves that do not involve paying large and established corporations.
Every minute you spend playing some 99 cent game on your iPhone is one minute that you are not listening, seeing or reading content produced by the media cartels. That is also the case when you check your FaceBook, Twitter Feed, blogs or play an online game. The same holds true for any type of media or content that is not created by or distributed through traditional media cartels.
The stranglehold of traditional media was sustainable only as long as production and distribution of content was too expensive for the true creators of content. That cost stranglehold has been broken at multiple points and levels within the last 10-15 years. The game is up, but the parasites have still not accepted this new reality- and it is unlikely they ever will as long as they live.
Then there is the previously mentioned issue of actually eliminating those who benefit from the status quo and their foot-soldiers. I will write about it in a future post though one or more of my previous posts talk about this issue in more general terms.