Google's new motto: "Don't be arrogant"

Google arrogant? Do cars drive?

If this sounds like a tall order for Google - renowned for its elitism - it's because it is. Yet a call for humility is precisely what Google CEO Eric Schmidt seems to believe will keep Google firing on all cylinders, according to the New Yorker.

[Google is] run by three computer scientists we're going to make all the mistakes computer scientists running a company would make. But one of the mistakes we're not going to make is the mistake that non-scientists make. We're going to make mistakes based on facts and data and analysis. What kills a company is not competition but arrogance. We control our fate.

What Schmidt conveniently forgets is that, in fact, scientists commit the "mistake" of arrogance all the time. Every day. It is precisely Google's techno-arrogance that has increasingly made it seem less messiah than privacy pariah, for example. "It's just data" is a really poor way to view real-world, real-people concerns.

Can Google change? Sure. Does it feel the need to change? The jury is still out on that one.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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