At a talk in London Thursday, Google chairman Eric Schmidt explained how the company uses its famous “Don’t Be Evil” motto.
In a conversation with John Gapper, Schmidt recalled the first time he encountered the “Don’t be evil” motto in use at the tech company.
He explained that in a meeting shortly after joining, the assembled Google employees had just made an agreement on a decision related to Google Ads. That’s when one Google employee spoke up:
I thought it was a joke. I was in a meeting a few months in, about ads, and I’m sitting there, and this engineer pounds his hand on the table and says “That’s evil!” in a loud voice. I thought, “Oh my god, what happens now? Does an explosion go off? Does god show up?” What I observed next was an unscheduled 45-minute fight on whether it was evil or not. The proposers took the proposal and withdrew it. It was a way of making internal decisions that are reasonable and fair.
Later on in his talk, Schmidt was asked to explain to the audience in London whether Google is evil or not. He said that “We don’t have the evil room where we go and have evil thoughts.”
So that’s a no, then.
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