The innovative doodle that Google put up for the country and jazz guitarist, songwriter and inventor Les Paul resulted in $268 million in lost productivity.The calculations are basically a house of cards made of slabs of back-of-the-envelope calculations built on a foundation of assumptions. Still, even if I ignore the number or method, the exercise annoys me. Consider the positives:
- Several million+ people, who may not have heard of the pioneer Les Paul, now know who he was.
- Instead of muddling 5 minutes on Facebook or Powerpoint or thinking about what they'd do after work, they spent time with a new toy, and some of their neurons (especially on the right hand side of the brain) welcomed the change.
- They marveled at the current state of web technology and some of them resolved that day to learn to build such cool things.
- By listening to what others had done with the audio-doodle, they figured out that great music can be made even from humble instruments. Some dusted off their old guitars and others made appointments with musically-inclined friends and teachers.
And if you want to pluck a few strings again, here you go.