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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Apparently, "Real Men" Hyperlink

Thanks to some thorough blogging by Danny Sullivan (um, er, I forget the URL)... I came across this item which oddly challenges Google management to be "real men."

This is a disturbing trend I've noticed in business journalism lately. Writers - especially in some business pages - like to goad captains of industry into showing off their "cajones," as if somehow they can be "gotten to" with some schoolyard words. One example - I'm not making this up - was the respected business writer who noted perfunctorily that the Chairman of one of Canada's top three banks had led them to unprecedented profitability and industry-leading profit margins (pretty good right?), but "time would tell if he had the stones to make that big acquisition that would double the company in size" etc. etc. (I'm paraphrasing here). Notwithstanding the fact that government regulators might have something to say about a merger that large. Now Mr. Gordon M. Nixon is well compensated for having his manhood challenged (makes about $7 million a year -- not Google money, but OK), so I'm sure he can take it.

Every book and case study I've read indicates that CEO's (including women) trying to act like "swashbucklers" or someone's idea of tough or loyal or whatever... typically make a royal mess of things. When you're all about executing the details, the secondary image stuff simply shouldn't matter.

That's what makes Stanley Bing's sendup Sun Tzu Was a Sissy: Conquer Your Enemies, Promote Your Friends, and Wage the Real Art of War such a hilarious read.

"Be real men"? First things first: the author of such a challenge has now ruled women out of management positions at Google and other companies like them, unless they act like the kinds of idiots who ruin companies and create needless wars.

That said, that kind of challenge always makes me giggle in a high-pitched, jovial manner (like a schoolgirl, or my neighbor, Paul, father of two); it feels like I'm watching a Seinfeld episode. If I were Schmidt et al., my riposte would be like Jerry's: "Then what are all those sport jackets doing in my closet?"

Author Donna Bogatin has evidently missed the biggest lesson in this, and I believe it's chapter 52 in Bing's book: no one in their right mind gives link love to their enemies.

Posted by Andrew Goodman




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