Google’s disappointing response to the “manifesto”

I’ve been sitting on this for a day, and I really do have better things to do than to scold strangers on the internet, but after sleeping on it I find I need to get this out…

Yesterday Google released its official response to a recent internally-released-but-now-leaked manifesto on gender and Google’s support of its equality. The official reply does Google, its brand, and its reputation no favours.

For starters, this so called “manifesto” is the worst sort of faux-intellectual, self-delusional, self-congratulating, adolescent bullshit. Full stop. This man obviously thinks himself very clever and knowledgable, when evidence shows that he is anything but.

But I’m not here to talk about this programmer today. The last thing this creature needs is more attention. I’m here to talk about how Google is making a very dire business mistake.

The response states:

Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions.

In principle there is nothing wrong with this statement, but the reality is that while people should feel safe sharing their opinions, they also must be trained that not all opinions or topics are appropriate in all environments or conditions.

In this case, the unnamed software developer has expressed an opinion which is counter to Google’s own “strong stand on this issue.” There is nothing wrong with that. He is welcome to his own opinion, however catastrophically wrong, puerile, shortsighted, and unadulteratedly stupid it may be.

However, this opinion was expressed in such a way that it has publicly called Google’s commitment to gender equality into question. If that’s not enough of a negative effect for them, then how about the bottom line? The furor over this simplistic armchair philosophy of a screed has seriously injured Google’s multi-billion dollar brand and wasted countless hours of company time.

How many millions of dollars of damage has this man’s public mental masturbatory male power fantasy done already? How many millions more will it take to heal the wound he has caused?

There is safety to express one’s views, and then there is safety to torpedo a company’s reputation. There is free speech, and then there are the ramifications for one’s speech. This software developer must learn that while he has the former, he also has the latter.

For the sake of its brand and its reputation, Google must make a decisive statement now. It must do better than the flacid response it made yesterday. It must show that actions which cause harm to the company and its initiatives are not welcome and will be met with a commensurate reaction. Or, more colloquially: Ya don’t shit where ya eat, dude.

Fire this man & make a statement to that effect. He’s a fool with poor judgement and he’s an albatross hung on Google culture and Google reputation.