Tonight I ran into a Googler at South Park Cafe. We used to sit near each other in 2003, when I worked in building 42 on Desktop. I haven't seen him in years. He is responsible for Google's university grants program, and he gave me an update. When conversing, I caught myself saying "we" to refer to Google. It has been a long time since I was there! But some habits stick with you.
Yesterday I wrote about the idealism embodied in Star Trek: The Next Generation. I appreciate how they strive to focus on the brighter parts of the human experience.
I think the best part of my Google experience was the idealism. Everyone tried to do good for the world. I remember learning for the first time that Google was scanning the Library of Congress books, to prevent a repeat of the Great Fire of Alexandria. It was very ennobling.
People were always concerned about not doing evil. Alipé once summarized the Friday TGIF questions posed to the founders as "Are we being evil in this new obscure way?" I laughed but I thought it was a very nice attribute.
Minted is idealistic too. We want to enable these indie graphic designers all the world who are talented but lack the right channels. We want to bring beautiful designs to people during the emotionally significant occasions in their lives.
Sometimes I feel besieged with people telling me that idealism is naive. They say ST: TNG is unrealistically perky, that all companies are deep down greedy, and that integrity and charity are always just a veneer. But that is an awfully difficult way to live! I choose to believe in idealism.
And to watch Picard.