Jack Yan
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The Persuader

My personal blog, started in 2006.



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15.04.2013

New leadership could help Google break through its adversarial, user-hating approach

There have been quite a few tech posts here of late, but there are a few points that can be drawn. The first was how deceptive some brands can be for people who would rather not peel back the top layer to see what lies beneath. Even when the media expose their wrongdoings—as the Murdoch Press did with Google’s spying through Iphones—the general consensus might remain unchanged. Google has a major cultural issue: when I tell them that something’s wrong with their system, their approaches are one of two: the first is to argue that you are wrong and they are right, no matter what the evidence is; the other is to bury their head in the sand because the “official” explanations are exhausted. If they take their head out, they realize the Emperor has no clothes. Google is where Microsoft was accused of being in the 1990s, when it almost missed the boat when it came to the World Wide Web: a firm that didn’t take in outside feedback, getting more and more out of touch with reality. When your volunteers and fans start behaving badly on the support forums, long before I ever had an issue with Google deleting my friend Vincent’s blog, and you tolerate it, then something’s wrong.
   It can be contrasted to a related discussion I’ve had at McAfee, which seems to begin with the notion that the customer is right, and they have a chance to improve their product. Granted, McAfee’s programs can be buggy, but at least they admit that there are different configurations and there’s a chance that they’re wrong. This thread that I started, querying an issue with its SiteAdvisor product, wasn’t met with cynicism. Hayton, in particular, has stayed with this issue for days, investigating and digging so that I can have a better experience with McAfee’s product. He’s identified an ad network that we used that leaves something to be desired. Now we have a chance to improve our products, too, and we’re going to phase out those particular ads once our OpenX server is cleared by Google (which could take months).
   Companies, organizations, and even cities would do well learning from the latter example. If you know the other side is a rational, decent person—and at some point in your adult life, you will have developed this instinct—then admitting that you’ve got something to learn, something to improve upon, is a useful opportunity to make things better. Paying a bit of attention and working with a customer, audience member or constituent helps both sides improve.
   It seems obvious to most of us, though it remains a distant target for the house of G. It may take new leadership to inspire and ensure a cultural change, otherwise it’s just business—or, in some cases, politics—as usual.

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Filed under: business, culture, internet, leadership, politics, technology, USA—Jack Yan @ 12.06

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