Google: Discovering the Health Care Way

July 23, 2009

Years ago I was working in Washington, DC, as a SETA on an IV&V project. If you don’t know the acronyms, no matter. Sergey Brin came to town one day and set off a wave of Potomac buzzing. He was visiting power mongers on Capitol Hill in a T shirt and sneakers. Horrors. A couple of years later, a colleague of mine and I ran into one of Google’s DC reps. We suggested that T shirts were not the way to make the high and mighty coo with pleasure. I recall that we were told to mind our own business. Okay, flash forward to 2009, about five years later. The Google is in the spotlight and facing probes into everything from how it deals with the faltering publishing sector to its impact on the hearts and minds of its competitors in sectors from telecommunications to digital plumbing. You can imagine the happy quacks that I emitted when I read “Facing Scrutiny, Google Steps Up Lobbying.” The once powerful New York Times has reported that Google is spending more money on lobbying. In my view, Google has discovered the way of the health care industry’s standard operating procedure for decades. My mirth comes from two different touches to my funny bone. First, the Googlers who told my colleague and me to go pound salt have realized the errors of their T shirt method. I doubt if Googlers admit errors, but my colleague and I noted the eureka moment. Second, the New York Times has figured out that Google has been increasing its footprint in DC. My research suggests that the Google has been adding to its presence brick by brick for the last two years. Hardly news in the view of the goslings. Two issues, however. Google is already under the microscope. More dough will be needed, lots of dough. And the New York Times has to get in front of this story. For example, what’s the MO of the people Google is hiring?

Stephen Arnold, July 23, 2009

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