CEOs and founders feeling hounded by pesky profit-hating humanitarians could learn a lesson or two from Google cofounder Sergey Brin. At Google's annual shareholder meeting yesterday, Amnesty International presented two shareholder proposals on behalf of the New York State Pension Funds involving Google's difficulties with China, privacy and censorship. Brin handled the PR mess, no problem.
He told the gathered he agreed with the spirit of the proposals, just not their wording. Then, in the traditional way of voicing support for a cause without taking any real action, Brin abstained from voting them up or down. Lesser spin doctors would have stopped there, but Brin managed to get another couple good ones in before the meeting wrapped: "I'm pretty proud of what we've been able to accomplish in China," Brin said."Google has a far superior track record than other Internet or Internet search companies in China."