Google regrouping as Alphabet sounds like world domination to me, but that might be because I had just watched “Mission Impossible—Rogue Nation” when the news about the reorganization came out.
Alphabet will be the parent company, watching over not only Google but also Calico, Fiber, Nest, Sidewalk, and other divisions, including incubator projects. Sounds like Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood 2.0 or something out of a parenting manual. While googling Google, I came across this story, “Six Things Google Remembers About My Parenting That I’d Almost Forgotten,” in which the writer admits to relying on Google for guidance. She concludes with this telling statement, “So (as Google knows) I’ll keep searching.” Which led to my next ah-ha moment. Google also sounds like a spyglass, a subconscious suggestion of a God-like being (notice they both start with “Go”?).
Life Sciences focused on anti-aging biotech, is another division of the Google-Alphabet conglomerate, but with a more ominous name than Nest or Calico. A recent book in a line of books about corporate happiness projects, “The Happiness Industry, How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being,” focuses mainly on Google. Discussing why corporate culture got its Zen on, author William Davies says, “… meditation seminars help Google’s employees to manage stress without suggesting that Google itself has any role to play in creating that stress.” The crux of his arguments, which are thought-provoking, is not surprising: It’s all about money. It’s not about you.
What does all of this have to do with meetings? Maybe only a little, except a warning or a perspective on our compliance with stress, reliance on online sources, and how much we can and should be mindful of the goals and values we want for our events, jobs, and ourselves. What are we delivering when we push wellness programs, motivational speakers, and productivity studies at a conference?