Wednesday
Feb272013

What has Google spawned: Mayer, Sandberg and Glass

As the world of Maya continues its ever amazing kaleidoscopic dance, Google is playing a spawning role, accelerating change and delivering more and different experiences for us to enjoy. Pleasure and sorrow, the twin dualities are never too far, as always.

Marissa Mayer, a Google product, is playing to be one of the greatest turn-around artists aiming to rejuvenate the creaking grandfather of the Internet. The single-pointed focus with which she carries out her CEO mission while, along the way, she bears and nurses her child is to be applauded. With single-pointed focus, that is. As humans most of us are limited in how much focus we can bring to the table. Corporate missions suck in so much energy that employees cannot invest in any other activities outside their work. We are always looking to soar vertically, climb heights of success. Balance is a word that does not show up in this vocabulary. Talk of balance and snide comments about mediocrity and sentimentality follow.

Sheryl Sandberg, another Google product, is also out there talking about how not to underestimate and train oneself to present and work differently, in order to succeed in in the corporate world. It’s, once again, the single-pointed focus on corporate success. Only this time it comes with a self-help primer.

Men have burnt themselves out over the last ten generations as large-corporate ways of doing things took hold since the late 19th century (the Dow Jones Average started in 1884 with nine railroads companies and two industrial corporations. General Electric became the archetype corporation in 1896 when it was added to the newly formed DJIA. Today, it is Google all the way.) It is now the women's turn to climb the ladder. To succeed in the corporate world it seems one needs to focus, focus, focus; get to work and stay there, shower and sleep and eat there - bunk-beds and cuisines from around the world as inducements. The question whether this is the ladder to climb in life - for women or for men (or goats or camels or horses or dogs or cats, for that matter) - does not seem to cross our minds.

For such a question to arise, we would have to start thinking about human flourishing. And what is it that makes for human flourishing? Google seems to have the answer! The Google Glass!

Soon, all we will ever need to do is to wear this Glass and Google will feed us all the information we want and need (and more) on just about everything. And privacy be damned; we will be able to do whatever we may want to with that information.

Yes, fortune does favor the bold (hat tip Sandberg): Are we bold enough to question which ladder we want to climb? Or, are we going to blindly start climbing the only ladder we are apparently presented with, which reaches out into the Cloud (!) and then leaves us fumbling and wondering what the climb was all about?

Jayant Kalawar is the author of The Advaita Life Practice, available at Amazon.

 

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