Friday, April 06, 2007

Looks Good on Paper 

The news that Google's co-founders took salaries of $1 each last year is interesting. Both men are billionaires. They don't need a salary. On the other hand, the symbolism is instructive. They could have taken salaries as co-founders -- and big ones too. They are entitled by reason of being co-founders still actively employed in the company. I'm sure this wasn't lost on their employees who can look about them in Silicon Valley and see other company founders who pay themselves well indeed. Actions do speak louder than words.

Even a cynical employee would admit that a salary of $1 is in line with Google's philosophy of "do no evil." It is a personal statement that "enough is enough." Greed has done damage to Silicon Valley and its occupants over the decades since the Valley has risen to prominence. The Internet Bubble was greed out of control -- far too much money chasing "pots o' gold." In that light, Google's co-founders stand for something different. More power to them even if they should take huge salaries in the future. You can call the token salaries PR but, if you do, note that it is the best form of PR.


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