Meet the tech boss, same as the old boss
“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It seems darkly funny, now, that anyone ever dared to dream that tech would be different. But we did, once. We would build new companies in new ways, was the thinking, not like the amoral industrial behemoths of old. The corporate villains of 90s cyberpunk were fresh in our imaginations. We weren’t going to be like that. We were going to show that you could get rich, do good, and treat everyone who worked for or interacted with your business with fundamental decency, all at the same time.
The poster child for this was, of course, Google, whose corporate code of conduct for fifteen years famously included the motto “don’t be evil.” No longer, and the symbolism is all too apt. Since removing that phrase in 2015, we’ve all witnessed reports of widespread sexual harassment, including 13 senior managers fired for it; Project Maven; and Project Dragonfly. Internal backlashes and a mass walkout led to retractions and changes, courtesy of Google employees rather than management … and now we’re seeing multiple reports of management retaliation against those employees.