Google just announced the launching of a holding company called Alphabet and promotion of “nice guy” Sundar Pichai to be CEO of the newly formed subsidiary — Google of course. For you not familiar with Sundar Pichai, he’s been with Google for over a decade and has launched products like Chrome and oversaw Google Apps.
Since humans love to point out race, he’s of Indian descent. But what I found so hilarious is how so many of the headlines, tweets, etc were about the fact that he is a “nice guy”; like this was so shocking.
Now, I don’t know the 43 year Sundar personally but I can say that as someone who likes nice people and who considers himself a nice person myself, hooray for the nice people! — I guess???
I thought this tweet from VC Marc Andreessen said it all:
I get that there is a sense that people need to be cold-blooded assholes in business in order be successful. And I get that there are so many examples throughout history that show this to be certainly a trend, however, for the record: if I am to be a slimy asshole to be a successful guy than success can go fu%k itself.
At the end of the day I believe that you have to be able to be comfortable in your own skin and be the person you want to be in this world and to others. And if you find yourself truly be an asshole, and it’s not sitting well with you, I’d suggest evaluating what is causing this.
I do think it’s important to be able to distinguish the difference from being a malicious asshole versus being a nonsense, direct communicator, for example.
Is it possible that “asshole-like” behavior is not always coming from a real asshole? – How much of what I believe is being communicated as “asshole-like” simply my own interpretation of someone’s communication during stressful and tense moments?
As a leader of groups of people across multiple scenarios within and outside of business, I have found myself having to be stern and very direct at times. I admittedly used to try my best to avoid uncomfortable conversations we like to classify as confrontations; I actually still dislike them. However I understand that these types of conversations should result as win-win and be highly productive.
It’s also important to understand what leaders experience when managing other humans, while having to manage their own emotions, expectations, insecurities, tasks, responsibilities, etc. I feel strongly about the fact that through the appropriate communication and development of mindfulness, we can decrease the number of times that we label someone as being an “asshole”.
And for you who are just truly assholes, I guess own it if that’s what makes you sleep at night. And for you who use asshole-like behavior and communication in order to succeed, there are others ways.
As for me, I choose to pursue “success” my own way. And for those who know me, know that my desire to be a thoughtful, loving, Nice guy.
Cheers to you Sundar Pichai – #NiceGuysWinToo