Google is Trying to Hang Itself
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?