Wael Ghonim is awesome. He is the Google exec who was a catalyst for the Egypt Uprising. He was detained by the Egyptian government for 12 days. Ghonim, an Egyptian who oversees Google’s marketing in the Middle East and Africa from Dubai, said he was blindfolded the entire time, but he was not tortured. He was detained on Jan. 27, two days after protests calling for President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster began. Wael was an administrator for a Facebook page in honor of Khaled Said, a 28-year-old man who died last year in the custody of the Egyptian secret police. After his release, Ghonim confirmed that he was an administrator of the Facebook page. On Tuesday, Ghonim joined the protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Ghonim told his bosses that he had urgent personal business and took vacation time to go to Egypt.

An Associated Press article about him and Google speculated about how companies could be cool, if they wanted.

In an indirect way, Ghonim may help Google’s
reputation. His actions have become part of the Google brand, and
Google will get credit for them whether it wants to or not, says
Michael Useem, a professor of management at the Wharton School at the
University of Pennsylvania.

Ghonim’s heroic status could “embolden voices within the company to
say, `One of our missions in life is not just to make money for our
very successful stockholders, but also make the world better for free
expression,'” he says.

“As Google is in the business of seeing information as a powerful and
liberating force, this is a case statement that indeed there is just
enormous power in the kind of new medium Google has helped create,” he
said. “This is symbolic, a kind of turning point of our recognition of
the power of such media.