A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 03, 2016
“Don’t be evil” (Google motto)

"Don’t be evil” is the motto of Google, an American multinational technology company. Google engineer Amit Patel wrote the saying on whiteboards in 1999. In 2000, when the company was looking for a slogan, Google engineer Paul Buchheit suggested Patel’s “Don’t be evil.”

“Don’t be evil” meant to separate Google from other technology companies, such as Microsoft. The motto has been applied satirically by Google’s critics.


Wikipedia: Google
Google is an American multinational technology company specializing in Internet-related services and products. These include online advertising technologies, search, cloud computing, and software. Most of its profits are derived from AdWords, an online advertising service that places advertising near the list of search results.

Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were Ph.D. students at Stanford University.

Alphabet Investor Relations: Google Code of Conduct
“Don’t be evil.” Googlers generally apply those words to how we serve our users. But “Don’t be evil” is much more than that. Yes, it’s about providing our users unbiased access to information, focusing on their needs and giving them the best products and services that we can. But it’s also about doing the right thing more generally – following the law, acting honorably and treating each other with respect.

The Google Code of Conduct is one of the ways we put “Don’t be evil” into practice. It’s built around the recognition that everything we do in connection with our work at Google will be, and should be, measured against the highest possible standards of ethical business conduct. We set the bar that high for practical as well as aspirational reasons: Our commitment to the highest standards helps us hire great people, build great products, and attract loyal users. Trust and mutual respect among employees and users are the foundation of our success, and they are something we need to earn every day.
(...)
And remember… don’t be evil, and if you see something that you think isn’t right – speak up!
Last updated April 11, 2012

Wikipedia: Don’t be evil
“Don’t be evil” was the corporate motto (or slogan) of Google. It was first suggested either by Google employee Paul Buchheit at a meeting about corporate values that took place in early 2000 or in 2001 or, according to another account, by Google Engineer Amit Patel in 1999. Buchheit, the creator of Gmail, said he “wanted something that, once you put it in there, would be hard to take out”, adding that the slogan was “also a bit of a jab at a lot of the other companies, especially our competitors, who at the time, in our opinion, were kind of exploiting the users to some extent.” While the official corporate philosophy of Google does not contain the words “Don’t be evil”, they were included in the prospectus (on Form S-1) of Google’s 2004 IPO (a letter from Google’s founders, later called the “‘Don’t Be Evil’ manifesto"): “Don’t be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served — as shareholders and in all other ways — by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains.” The motto is sometimes incorrectly stated as Do no evil. The motto has since been replaced by the phrase “Do the right thing”.

Avoiding conflicts of interest
In their 2004 founders’ letter prior to their initial public offering, Larry Page and Sergey Brin explained that their “Don’t be evil” culture prohibited conflicts of interest, and required objectivity and an absence of bias:

Google users trust our systems to help them with important decisions: medical, financial and many others. Our search results are the best we know how to produce. They are unbiased and objective, and we do not accept payment for them or for inclusion or more frequent updating. We also display advertising, which we work hard to make relevant, and we label it clearly. This is similar to a well-run newspaper, where the advertisements are clear and the articles are not influenced by the advertisers’ payments. We believe it is important for everyone to have access to the best information and research, not only to the information people pay for you to see.

10 Things Google has found to be true (July 17, 2002)
In a word, Google’s goal is to do important stuff that matters to a lot of people. In pursuit of that goal, we’ve developed a set of values that drive our work, including one of our most cherished core values: “Don’t be evil.”
Great Jobs at Google 3 April 2002

Google Groups: fa.fiction-of-philosophy
[CC] Google vs. Evil (fwd)
Alan Sondheim
12/29/02
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 28 Dec 2002 21:55:35 -0600
From: “George(s) Lessard “
Reply-To:
(...)
Full story @
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.01/google_pr.html

Wired
OSH MCHUGH
01.01.03 12:00 PM
GOOGLE VS. EVIL
The world’s biggest, best-loved search engine owes its success to supreme technology and a simple rule: Don’t be evil. Now the geek icon is finding that moral compromise is just the cost of doing big business.
(...)
Most major companies refer to a detailed code of corporate conduct when considering such policy decisions. General Electric devotes 15 pages on its Web site to an integrity policy. Nortel’s site has 34 pages of guidelines. Google’s code of conduct can be boiled down to a mere three words: Don’t be evil.

Very Star Wars. But what does it mean?

Evil,” says Google CEO Eric Schmidt, “is what Sergey says is evil.”

Google Books
Planet Google:
One Company’s Audacious Plan to Organize Everything We Know

By Randall Stross
New York, NY: Free Press
2008
Pg. 100:
It ("Don’t Be Evil”—ed.) originated in 1999, ...
Pg. 101:
Amit Patel, a Google engineer who had been among the very first employees, conveyed his concern by writing in neat letters on the corner of the whiteboard in the company’s only conference room, where it could be seen by Google’s salespeople and their clients, “Don’t Be Evil.”

Several years later, when the number of employees had grown to several hundred and the human resources team was casting about for a set of corporate values, Paul Buchheit, another engineer, suggested that Patel’s “Don’t Be Evil” be added to the list.

Google Books
Founders at Work:
Stories of Startups’ Early Days

By Jessica Livingston
New York, NY: Springer-Verlag New York, Inc.
2008
Pg. 170:
Buchheit: It just sort of occurred to me that “Don’t be evil” is kind of funny. It’s also a bit of a jab at a lot of other companies, especially our competitors, who at the time, in our opinion, were kind of exploiting the users to some extent. They were tricking them selling search results—which we considered a questionable thing to do because people didn’t realize that they were ads.

JayGarmon.net
Monday, August 30, 2010
Who coined Google’s unofficial motto Don’t Be Evil? (Hint: It wasn’t Larry Page, Sergei Brin or Eric Schmidt)
(...)
Who coined Google’s unofficial motto Don’t Be Evil?
Don’t Be Evil is generally credited to Paul Buchheit who, along with Amit Patel, suggested the slogan at a Google workshop on company values. If you don’t know Buchheit, you certainly know his work: He created Gmail and built the prototype for Google Adsense, arguably Google’s two most successful products outside the search algorithm itself.

Patel, meanwhile, made it his mission to evangelize the Don’t Be Evil motto, writing it in the corner of virtually every whiteboard in Google’s headquarters. Notably, that’s as close as Don’t Be Evil ever got to becoming an official Google slogan or corporate value. The sixth item in Google’s 10-point corporate philosophy is “you can make money without doing evil.” You can avoid evil, but you don’t have to avoid evil. Perhaps that’s a meaningless equivocation, but recent Google actions suggest otherwise.

Google Books
In The Plex:
How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives

By Steven Levy
New York, NY: Simon & Schuster
2011
Pg. 144:
“So I (Paul Buchheit—ed.) suggested something that would make people feel uncomfortable but also be interesting. It popped into my mind that ‘Don’t be evil’ would be a catchy and interesting statement. And people laughed. But I said, “No, really.”

The slogan made Stacy Sullivan uncomfortable. It was so negative. “Can’t we phrase it as ‘Do the right thing’ or something positive?” she asked. Marissa and Salar agreed with her. But the geeks—Buchheit and Patel—wouldn’t budge. “Don’t be evil” pretty much said it all, as far as they were concerned. They fought off every attempt to drop it from the list.

Google Books
The Book on Entrepreneurship and Property:
The Guide to Successful Entrepreneurship and Property Development

By Selchouk Sami
Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse
2013
Pg. 36:
In 2001, staff were tasked with the specific job of finding a motto that expressed the company’s values. One of them, Amit Patel, recalled that the think-tank quickly became bogged down with slogans, from the specific “Be In Time For Meetings”, to the aspirational “Treat Everyone WIth Respect”. Amit said, “Some of us were very anti-corporate and we didn’t like the idea of all these specific rules.” At this point, one executive, Paul Buchheit, intervened and said, “All of these things can be covered with the three words ‘Don’t Be Evil’.”

Page and Brin seized on the three words and used “Don’t Be Evil” to brand Google as one of the “good guys” of the corporate world.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMedia/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • Sunday, April 03, 2016 • Permalink