Friday, November 6, 2009

Incrementing Eric Schmidt's CHUTZPAH Count

When it comes to Google-based Chutzpah of the Week awards, my recent practice seems to have been to assign them at the corporate level, rather than singling out individuals. Nevertheless, Eric Schmidt is one of the earliest Chutzpah of the Week award winners; and, in a week in which he has given us back-to-back chutzpah over two successive days, it seems appropriate to increment his award count. Recall that yesterday he tried to frame the problem of service for enterprise customers in terms that, hopefully, would have made most of those customers flinch:

The first thing a CIO is going to say is, "where is that person and how do I wring their neck?"

One usually applies the adjective "sophomoric" to such recklessly frivolous use of language; but I would like to believe that even a college freshman knows enough to take this for the major blooper that it is. However, as if this were not enough, today we again have Tom Krazit to thank for another "Schmidtism," this time in his identification of Google's policy on privacy:

we're trying not to cross what we call the creepy line

Is this how a technology advisor to the Obama Administration views the general question of personal privacy in the brave new world of Internet technology? Does it all come down to whether or not it is perceived as "creepy?" If so, how does one determine whether or not it is "creepy;" and how many people have to declare it to be "creepy" before Google recognizes it as "creepy?"

Recall that Schmidt won his first Chutzpah of the Week award for trying to lecture an audience at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace as if, where questions of Internet technology were concerned, they were unwashed dummies, an attitude that he had previously directed towards our elected representatives in our system of government! After all those years of Bush-speak, I had hoped that Barack Obama would revive the practice of thinking before speaking; but this clearly has not been the case. Instead, the "Age of Bush-speak" has now reemerged as the "Age of Schmidt-speak;" and the only virtue of this evolution may be that Schmidt-speak will provide as many opportunities for Chutzpah of the Week awards as Bush-speak did. Thus, while this may be only the second award to go to Schmidt as an individual, there is the promise that he shall be received many more!

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