Getting Google-ized Is "Good" For Madison Avenue & America
Before the formal creation of unions as we know them today, there was a "union of thought" which bound people together to take action. There was no AFL-CIO, no Teamsters, no Autoworkers, no Civil Service etc... There was just John/Jane Q Richperson (mostly John) and the indentured servants who were exploited to no end.
Thankfully, an end did come of it. The end came when like-minded people came together with a determination that's best described with a line from the classic film, (ironically called) "Network": "We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore." The genesis of the union was not organized, it was psychological.
So unions were created and before the economy became global, they had a monopoly on labor. Then it changed. Unions became lazy and began having their own fair share of problems, much like the companies they were "working with." Today, a union is known more for free-loading. They have as much public respect as corporate America/Wall Street, which are known more for lining their pockets. There's no question that greedy unions and CXO's have had dramatically negative effects on corporations, sometimes legally and sometimes not. In many ways, when each looks at the other, they might as well be looking in the mirror.
Then one day along came Google!!
Hardly a day goes by without a major article on Google's impact on business and society. Yesterday was no exception. Bill Gates was quoted in The New York Times as if his latest hire was Merlin The Magician. "The magic moment will come when our search is demonstrably better than Google's." The Times added, "...suggesting that this could happen in a year or so."
The inventor of "vapor-ware" himself; one of the best fabricators in the business is expecting that "magic" is going to change the "hyper-competition" he is now up against. He may be right. Microsoft may create a search tool that is better than today's Google. However, he can't predict what Google will look like in a year. He may have been giving more away about his own breathing habits (hyper-ventilating) than he imagined.
Excellence Is The Enemy Of "Good" - Twelve months from now, one must question will people really need a better Microsoft mousetrap? The problem with large corporations like MSN and others is that when they miss a market and effort to play catch up, the company moves from being productive for the company in the "proving yourself stage" to the "protecting yourself stage." The focus shifts from the larger direction and welfare of the company to protecting one's turf.
It's human nature. Managers ultimately fear they will lose their jobs so they put even more time to go way beyond "good" when "good" may be the solution. Why it will take a year for Microsoft to get their search tool up to speed? If they shoot for excellence, they may build it better than Google, but is that really necessary? Aren't there other factors that go into a product's success like personality?
Another structural problem with company catch-up politics is that the manager who was satisfied with "good" would most likely keep going so as to not attract from other managers equally nervous who are also shooting for excellence. The most precious element in this market is time, yet time is a factor Mr. Bill seems to place no importance on.
Much Ado About Everything - Protecting information today is difficult if not impossible to do. You don't need to be a hacker to find out important little details that will trip up a company in a class-action suit or worse, a scandal at the top. The New York Times reports that technology consultant Esther Dyson predicts that Google will "result in a huge reduction in inefficiency everywhere."... with The Times adding, "would be an unsettling force for all sorts of industries and workers." It could also be unsettling for corporations who fire employees en masse who turn out to be whistle-blowers.
If massive numbers of people are laid off at the expense of corporate bigwigs that fall into the 2% of the 2%/98% wealth skew in this country, it would be hard to imagine that "unsettled workers" would sit around eating BonBons with the likes of Google at their fingertips. Google could in fact be the bullet used right back to corporate big wigs to reduce their natural robber baron knee-jerk reactions. Google very well could have an egelitarian-effect on society far more than the creation of unions ever could. First, it may help them expose sensitive areas companies would prefer to keep secret. Second, with some knowledge of the products and/or services they once worked for, they might turn that knowledge into a fledgling business of their own.
From Robber Barons To Baron Robbers - Who is to say that ticked off workers won't have a field day sticking it right back to corporate America? When Clyde Barrow of the infamous Bonnie & Clyde's was asked why he robbed banks, his answer was simple. "'Cause that's where the money is." Google could make corporations a larger target than ever before.
"Cut Velvet" - There's a classic story on Fashion Avenue of two desperate businessmen in the depression era who were literally starving, such that one of them decided to jump out the window and commit suicide. Given that small dressmakers all competed against each other in the same building, after he jumped out and fell through the air, he could see what other dressmakers were doing on the floors below him. Yelling up to his partner one last bit of advice, he yelled, "Cut Velvet!" It's a sad story, yet it's filled with poignancy in the complexity of the human spirit to never stop fighting even after one gives up.
Corporate Union-Busting = Ba-Bye Fat Cat! Ba-Bye $100 million golden parachutes. Ba-Bye 2%/98% economic structure We hope that the future of small business does not end up like the poor "Cut Velvet" soul did. In fact, unions were the factor that changed ruthlessly harmful business practices on 7th Avenue for the better.
But ultimately it was a union in thought. Organized unions just backed it up with the law. That was a 20th century model. Google will enable us once again to have a union of thought. We don't need to go to a factory to work. We can work from home. We will no longer need a formal union, since they become just as lethargic as the corporations they are "working with."
The Google union we envision and refer to here will be ubiquitous in every part of society. First and foremost, it will become the SEC on steroids, staffed with average Joe's and Josephine's who now have all the tools that corporations used to only have from a legal, research, consumer, manufacturing and marketing.
Searchers of the World Unite - Necessity is the mother of invention. Google potentially has a much better chance at truly reviving our economy and re-distributing the wealth of this country and the world than anything else on the planet, for two reasons:
1. Educated un-employed workers tend not to sit around and do nothing.
2. The age of specificity and niche-markets is growing rapidly which (because of companies like Google) can empower entrepreneurs to take a guerilla-warfare approach to picking off pieces of markets from the bigwigs, much like Google did to Gates and company.
The Rise Of The Google Union Society - America is a much different country today than it was in the early 20th century, the dawn of the union era. Unions had their place and time, though union of thought is timeless. It's been proven that a company with mediocre products and talent - who's staff is all marching to the same beat - can beat any top-notch company filled with excellent products, who's staff is dysfunctional.
It's all about the people. Industries today who value people as a commodity instead of their greatest asset will be challenged as never before with Google. Like today's Madison Avenue for example. Gates is going to need more than a magician. He may be more successful if he searches for something more akin to a prayer.