Don’t be evil

I just read this article on TechCrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/19/this-is-business-not-personal/

It depresses me.

For full disclosure, I just finished reading Into the Wild, and like when I watched the movie years ago, I’m still intoxicated by its indirect sermons of freedom and all that.

The corporate life depresses me sometimes. Google pulled it off for about 15 years, they kept their values strong. When they said Don’t be Evil, it wasn’t marketing propaganda, they really meant it. And it did them real good. And everybody loved them. You don’t have to pinpoint why you love them, there’s just this respect. This trust. Whether you’re on the inside or the outside. You start believing in the cloud.

Despite the fact that you loved your freedom as a geek from the first wrote that first printf statement. Despite the fact that you enjoyed the rare email from the rare grateful user of your open source code. (Users are ungrateful, but that doesn’t matter.) Money is evil. Job security even more so. Sometimes I think it’s easier to give it all up and live life on the road. Geek style. You know, in the hope that someday some biographer writes your biography, Into the code or something like that. Starved while optimizing an n^2 loop, they would write, for the good of mankind.

I could go on and on.

The cloud is like the life McCandless in the book despised. How does a programmer go back to his roots? Live off the real code on a real machine, on a real operating system.

How can business and real geeks live harmoniously? Google almost pulled it off. Almost. At least for fifteen years. By the way, I no longer work at Google, but all disclaimers about not representing my employer or anything like that still apply. Corporate requirements, I wouldn’t have needed that if I were writing code that I pushed to Github.

I do see a lot of incoherent blabber up there. But I’m working for a startup now. I don’t have time to edit stuff. Take what you want from it. Just to be entirely clear, since I’m talking of multiple things there, I’m criticizing: the cloud, corporates, programming for money, and life in general.

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3 Responses to Don’t be evil

  1. Preyas says:

    “Starved while optimizing an n^2 loop, they would write, for the good of mankind.”

    LOL

  2. Anirbit says:

    Great to see a blog from you after an year!

    So where are you now?
    Why did you leave Google and which start-up have you joined?

    I sent an email a few months ago enquring about Wacom and such e-paper/e-pen products. Kindly reply to that!

  3. Ria says:

    “users are ungrateful.” LOL

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