Google’s Les Paul Doodle Was A Productivity Killer

    June 17, 2011

Too bad these folks didn’t write for an Internet news company, because then, their time on the Les Paul Google Doodle could be viewed as research… What we have here is, apparently, the Google Doodle that celebrated guitar legend Les Paul’s birthday with an interactive guitar doodle cost millions of theoretical dollars in lost productivity. The reports are in the same vein as the fantasy football productivity reduction scare. The same “alarms” have been raised about March Madness, as well.

Although these fears were successfully addressed in 2007, that doesn’t stop these reports from popping up four years later. The rebuttal in question:

“Every day, employers lose money by paying people to take smoking breaks, go to the bathroom, refill coffee mugs and make small talk around the water cooler,” [John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc,] said. “Most employers understand that not every minute of every workday is dedicated to work. In fact, in today’s 24-7 global economy, it is likely that work bleeds into our personal lives. As a trade-off, employers should expect and allow workers’ personal lives to seep into the workplace.”

Nevertheless, if the bean counters are to be believed, the Les Paul Google Doodle was responsible for $268 million of lost productivity.

Theoretically, anyway.

The method with which the $270 million price tag was reached is as follows:

The Les Paul Google Doodle was on the homepage for two full days, and RescueTime analytics showed users spent an average of 26 seconds more on the Google homepage than normal during that period.

If you do the math (740 million x 2 x 26 seconds), that means 10.7 million man hours were spent playing with the Les Paul Google Doodle. ExtremeTech estimated the average Google user earns $25 per hour, which would mean the interactive guitar cost companies $268 million worldwide in lost productivity.

Again, this is taking into account that every second of every work day is used to further the profits of your employer, something the previous block of quoted text addressed, along with other productivity myth-busting responses.

However, when you consider all the creative things you can do with Google’s latest batch of doodles, especially with the Les Paul logo, maybe these productivity reports aren’t so far-fetched after all. When you also consider the Les Paul doodle — which will be available at Google as long as the Internet exists, apparently — allows would-be guitarists to save their work, you realize some folks probably spent a little bit of time trying to perfect whatever song they were attempting to play.

Furthermore, a quick YouTube search of “les paul doodle” shows a nice amount of uploads, and when you apply the “uploaded today” filter, you see these submissions are still rolling in. The question is, were these done by people who impact the productivity bottom line or people who have a lot of spare time on their hands?

Anyway, how about a song?

Too much time on their hands submission or number-cruncher for a think tank neglecting his duties to rock out like Jimmy Page?