Tag Archives: framing


Tortoise Tuesday: Methodology in Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s Letter Regarding the Future of Google

On December 3 2019, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin shocked the technology sector by resigning from their roles as CEO and President of Alphabet, Google’s parent holding company, respectively. Such an immense and symbolic change in leadership at one of the largest companies in the world could very well raise significant concerns regarding the future of the company among employees and the general public. However, Page and Brin excellently frame this change as the natural and necessary next step in Google’s evolution in a joint blog post announcing the leadership change by employing a methodology that draws heavily upon many of the company’s founding documents.

Immediately at the beginning of the post, Page and Brin present an excerpt of their first founders’ letter to highlight Google’s mission, core service and company values, and they proceed to argue that these core tenets have persisted throughout the company’s history and continue to do so. In so doing, the two technology visionaries abstract the company’s livelihood from their personal involvement with the company; while Google originally depended on Page and Brin to shape the company, the initial roadmap created by the two founders has continued to shape company over the years. This continuity is inherent to Google’s mission as a company and not directly tied to Page or Brin.

Having drawn a distinction between the involvement of the founders within the company and the company’s livelihood, Page and Brin go on to present an excerpt from a second founders’ letter that compares the evolution of Google to that of a human being. The founders eloquently argue that the company has reached young adulthood and that it is time for them to “assume the role of proud parents.” By drawing a comparison between the change in leadership and the natural life cycle of a human, Page and Brin frame a seemingly monumental shift in company history as a natural occurrence, arguably a non-event. This is further compounded by the extension of a metaphor originally created 15 years ago. Through this methodology, Page and Brin reassure Google employees and the general public that the company is well poised to continue to execute its mission and that their resignation is the natural next phase in Google’s progress as a company.

— Nick Johnson ’20

Excerpt from Blog Post:

Our very first founders’ letter in our 2004 S-1 began:

“Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one. Throughout Google’s evolution as a privately held company, we have managed Google differently. We have also emphasized an atmosphere of creativity and challenge, which has helped us provide unbiased, accurate and free access to information for those who rely on us around the world.”

We believe those central tenets are still true today. The company is not conventional and continues to make ambitious bets on new technology, especially with our Alphabet structure. Creativity and challenge remain as ever-present as before, if not more so, and are increasingly applied to a variety of fields such as machine learning, energy efficiency and transportation. Nonetheless, Google’s core service—providing unbiased, accurate, and free access to information—remains at the heart of the company.


Our second founders’ letter began:

“Google was born in 1998. If it were a person, it would have started elementary school late last summer (around August 19), and today it would have just about finished the first grade.”

Today, in 2019, if the company was a person, it would be a young adult of 21 and it would be time to leave the roost. While it has been a tremendous privilege to be deeply involved in the day-to-day management of the company for so long, we believe it’s time to assume the role of proud parents—offering advice and love, but not daily nagging!

Framing, Spring 2017

Media Meditation in 1990s Slacker Comedies

In a Tortoiseshell: This excerpt from Sam’s English JP explores the phenomenon of the slacker comedy and investigates its origin in the cultural materialism, economic stagnation and generational apathy of the 1990s. This introduction establishes Sam’s definition of the “slacker” by grounding it in both scholarly literature and the cultural context, and uses this key term as a springboard for the rest of his argument.

Continue reading

Framing, Spring 2017

A Curious Case of Political Critique: The Detective Genre in Rodolfo Walsh’s ‘Operation Massacre’

In a Tortoiseshell: In this essay, Lara Norgaard engages in a close reading of Rodolfo Walsh’s Operation Massacre. She argues that this story reworks the detective genre by enlisting the active participation of the reader and serving as a critical form for its contemporary context. Her orienting to the genre and this work allows her to build a progressive argument and conclude with its broader implications.

Continue reading

Framing, Spring 2017


Everyone wants to make an argument that matters—literarily, artistically, historically, politically, socially, culturally… the list goes on and on. For undergraduates just beginning their academic career, however, this is no easy task. The “so what?” factor is always looming over us, whether we’re writing a ten- to twelve-page research paper during freshman year or a several hundred-page thesis.

What’s the significance of my argument? What does it add to the scholarly conversation? How is what I’m saying new and exciting, not just to a scholarly audience, but also to the world? Framing tackles all these questions. It’s the art of contextualizing your argument in some broader sense that makes it fresh, meaningful, and perhaps even vital. But framing, although its proportions can be gigantic—in some cases changing the world and our understanding of it—is actually a very delicate process. Framing pervades almost every aspect of the well-written essay. Some common aspects include the orienting of key terms and context, the motive of the argument, and an extension of the thesis. But for all this theoretical ideating on what framing is and where it surfaces, it’s easiest to see how and where framing works when it’s in action. We’ve selected three essays that, in addition to developing a specific and refined argument, take their arguments to the next level by framing them within appropriate contexts—film, literature, philosophy, politics, and urban planning, to name a few.

In “Media Mediation in 1990s Slacker Comedies,” Sam Bollen ‘18 adeptly orients the reader to the scholarly and colloquial concept of “slacker,” applies this definition and its implications to the genre of slacker comedies, and undertakes a close reading of exemplars of the film genre with substantial explorations of outside sources. He thus turns a seemingly trendy and one-dimensional topic into a captivating and nuanced argument worthy of debate.

In “The Filtration Metaphor: An Analysis of Delays in New York’s Line Extension,” Jonah Hyman ’19 uses a case study of delays on the 7 line extension to present a new model to describe “megaproject forecasting and communication.” Jonah immerses himself into the case study, maintaining a focused objective of extrapolating the specifics of the study to future applicability.

Lastly, in “A Curious Case of Political Critique: The Detective Genre in Rodolfo Wash’s Operation Massacre,” Lara Norgaard ’17 engages in a close reading of Operation Massacre. But she goes beyond a close reading as well, investigating the surrounding political context of Argentina in the 1950s to ultimately classify the novel as a literary innovation and a critical form.