Here are some very enlightening quotations from a recent article on Google at Time magazine:
ERIC SCHMIDT (CEO): “The company isn’t run for the long-term value of our shareholders but for the long-term value of our end users.”
LARRY PAGE (Founder): “If we were motivated by money, we would have sold the company a long time ago and ended up on a beach.”
Bravo, boys. Here’s to what I hope will begin a revolution toward an economy where profit is secondary to the greater good and to personal satisfaction. If that sounds ridiculously optimistic, consider this: a hundred years ago industries thrived because they filled a need, a necessity, and profit was derived from that, but today it seems like the tenor of business in this country is one of want, of convenience. We are finding ever more luxuries with which to fill our lives. The middle class is doing much less physical labor. We’re getting to a point where necessity is no longer the mother of invention, convenience is. Our lives are so convenient now that many more of us have the option of taking a job we enjoy versus a job we’re forced into. I feel like trade skills are falling off while interchangeable office skills are on the rise. In that environment, there exists more freedom to choose a job you enjoy. Your daily aim then becomes doing your job well because you care about the work.
I’m not saying this is widespread right now, nor will come to pass for the entire populace any time soon, but I really think it might be possible. Give it a thousand years and we’ll see. The danger between now and then becomes finding something enjoyable for everyone to do. Today there are so many members of my generation and younger who are so affluent that they’re bored to tears and psychologically abused by an army of marketers trying to sell them unnecessary trinkets and pleasures. They have no idea where to start looking for something about which they can be passionate. They need mental, emotional and spiritual food and they’ve got Kelly Clarkson and MTV. We’ve traded in physical hardship for psychological stress. For everything you gain, you lose something I suppose.
Anyway, that all just popped in from out of nowhere. Not sure if it’s coherent but oh well. Thinking about those two statements and how they run completely counter to traditional capitalism brings me a great deal of joy. Maybe change can start at the top for once.