Smoke & Mirrors: Grappling with Google Glass

After a bra lands in Spivey's garden, the hapless CEO's enthusiasm for new technology knows no bounds - until he has a hair-raising experience involving Google Glass.

by Guy Browning
Last Updated: 03 Jun 2014


I started the week with a code red on my phone. This can be one of three things: a disastrous warehouse fire, the share price going up or our CEO taking an initiative. The chances of any of the three happening are fantastically remote so I was hoping for a warehouse fire, which at least would get rid of all the products we can't sell.

But no, the alert was an unprompted action by our CEO, the bewigged Linton Spivey. Last year, we set him up with a Twitter account and a few thousand paid-for followers so he could communicate directly with all and sundry.

The world has been on tenterhooks for six months but now he's finally tweeted: 'Micro-drone has delivered an unidentified bra to my back garden. Very excited.'


The board is in a frozen state as we digest the implications of Spivey's tweet. What exactly is he excited about? We're hoping it's the bra because if it's the technology, we're stuffed. We're like the German High Command in 1940 waiting to hear what new country Hitler has decided to invade. We all have to follow him with unquestioning obedience (linked to our share options), but Spivey's decision is likely to be catastrophic if not apocalyptic.

I've decided that business works better with the absolute minimum of technology and CEO input. Technology doesn't give you transparency; it just shows you more clearly what you don't know, and CEOs show you what they don't know every time they make a decision. Quite honestly, we'd be better served by having a cuddly toy instead of a CEO. It would certainly make PR a lot easier.


Worryingly, there's still no word from Spivey. He doesn't have any children so he doesn't have the domestic technology consultants I'm blessed with.

Whatever my slacker son Henry asks for at Christmas, I know our IT director, Mike Lamb, will be wanting for the company in the new year. Of course, he never gets anything because Spivey doesn't know the difference between an iPad and a shin pad.

Now Mike's come up with this brilliant new scheme called BYOD, which I initially thought was a new sport diffusion range from FCUK but apparently it means Bring Your Own Device to work. This is heaven for geeks but probably means our general counsel will be bringing in a trouser press.


It's BYOD day. A lot of people in marketing are showing off their latest gadgets and using rectal scans to access their email. I think I also saw a guy from accounts carrying his old desktop PC across the car park. I don't know whether this is an upgrade on the IT they already have in accounts or if he's fly tipping.

It reminds me of when Spivey decided that we could all slash travel costs if everyone used video conferencing (and insisted we have a nationwide roadshow to explain it). Everyone hated video conferencing - why wouldn't you want to go to Barcelona for a meeting? I used it for a while but I managed to reduce the definition on my camera so I came across as about four pixels - I could've been riding a donkey naked and no one would have known.


Finally. At the board meeting, there was a mini-helicopter in the middle of the table squatting on a packet of one of our surgical devices. My heart sank. It wasn't the bra Spivey was excited about. He wants us to become Amazon and deliver our products by drone - never mind that they're used by doctors in the bowels of hospitals (and patients).

Mike Lamb was already there, wearing his Google Glass specs - recently acquired from the US. The immediate effect of them is that you want to punch the wearer, which I call hateable technology.

Halfway through the meeting, Spivey demonstrated his new toy by revving up the helicopter and making it lift off. At the same time, Mike Lamb's glasses recorded Spivey's wig being blown across the room and live streamed it to the rest of the organisation.

At the end of the meeting, we had a new policy, NMFT, which loosely translates as No More Technology. I think it's going to fly.

Guy Browning can be contacted at

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