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American Gods Wiki

I translated all of Bach's cantatas into a database then wrote a program that segmented the notes into digital objects the way that Bach statistically intended to. But everything it created was mechanical, artificial. The real insight was in programming violations to the predictable variations. I gave it permission to shatter the rules.

–The CEO, "The Greatest Story Ever Told"

The CEO, also known as Mr. Xie, is the founder and top executive at the Silicon Valley company, Xie Comm. A creator in his own right, CEO is inspired by the latest and greatest advances in the world of technology.


In 1977, a boy sits in front of a TV and plays Pong. His father walks in and snaps his fingers for attention. The father starts a metronome on top of a piano. The boy sits down and begins playing Bach as the father listens with his eyes closed. The boy finishes the song, closes the music book and piano, and goes back to playing Pong.

In 1987, the boy listens to rock music as he plays Tetris on a Game Boy. His father comes in and turns off the radio. He tells his son to listen and puts on a record of Bach's Chaconne. His father discusses the grief Bach went through when composing it. Bach's wife had died, he had lost 3 children and would lose 7 more. He asks if his son can hear it and tells him it is how men like him pray.

The son types away on a keyboard in his dorm room, programming in Java. He hears Chaconne playing in the distance and follows the sound to another dorm room where a student is practicing her violin. He asks her to play it again and realizes something monumental about its composition.

The son plays a new piece at the piano for his father. His father compliments it, saying it is beautiful like Bach. He explains to his father that a computer wrote it. He imported Bach's music into a database and wrote a program to statistically arrange the notes in the same manner as Bach. It sounded too artificial so he realized he need to give it "permission to shatter the rules." His father is disappointed to learn that it was composed by a computer.

The son sits in a church at his father's funeral as the computer-composed music continues playing in the background, rising higher and higher as blocks and pixels begin to form in front of the church organ. Technical Boy materializes as the music crescendos into a techno beat.

Significance in series[]

"The Greatest Story Ever Told"[]

Technical Boy arrives at the campus of Xie Comm, a Silicon Valley software company. He bypasses the security measures with a flip of his middle finger and strides through the hallways as taunting messages from New Media appear on the LED walls and his iPhone. He enters the office of the CEO, the boy who once played Bach for his father. The CEO asks if Technical Boy has something new to show him.

Technical Boy explains to the CEO how with Argus' death, a vacancy has been left for him to fill. People are willing to give up all of their information and data for free and Technical Boy has access to everything and his own eyes are everywhere.

The CEO wants Technical Boy to show him what he has in mind. Mr. World enters, criticizing Technical Boy for proving he is redundant and shows New Media to the CEO who transforms into a visual design for him to interact with. The CEO is no longer able to see or hear Technical Boy, having forgotten him.

"Moon Shadow"[]

The CEO struggles as he works on developing his new technology. He stops the metronome that appears on his desk before walking over to a metronome that appears on the floor. Each time he stops the metronome it appears in a different place. As the metronome keeps playing, classical music joins in and reminds him of when he first composed software long ago. He is spurred on into completing his programming to invent New Technical Boy.

The CEO marvels at New Technical Boy's perfection and simplicity while Technical Boy finds the CEO messy with too many systems "animating meat." The CEO uses the story of Jacob wrestling with an angel as an analogy to science wrestling with God. Technical Boy questions why anyone wants to wrestle God. The CEO recites the verse where Jacob says, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

The CEO speaks of human progress and the need to create order out of chaos. He talks about choosing to make sacrifices in order to work and how he cannot be in two places at once. He wonders what it might be like to touch a god, akin to Michelangelo's fresco of Adam reaching out to God in the Sistine Chapel. His computer starts blaring a warning that there has been a remote breech into his system. As he goes over to inspect it, New Technical Boy tells him, "You are not made in God's image. We are made in yours." Technical Boy finishes the story of Jacob and the angel, telling how the angel touched Jacob's hip to incapacitate him, and touches the CEO's hip, freezing him in a flash of light. He asks if it is everything the CEO imagined since Technical Boy's only limit is the CEO's imagination and fear fuels imagination.

As Technical Boy transfers "everything," he reveals he is able to be in two places at once, the other place being the Black Briar bunker. Technical Boy joins Mr. World and the Caretaker in the bunker as New Media receives the transfer from the CEO's computers.

A newscaster reports on a hack at XieComm to gain control of the Argus drones. At XieComm, the FBI are cleaning out Mr. Xie's (the CEO) office, questioning him about how to stop the hack. He tells them to pray.

Notes and trivia[]