Three Peer-Reviewed Takes On Armstrong and AOL

I've had the chance to poll a few folks in the industry – all of them very senior executives who are now, have recently, and/or will again run very large Internet companies. Their reactions, in no particular order: 1. This showed how badly Time Warner needed to shake up…

tim_armstrong.jpg I’ve had the chance to poll a few folks in the industry – all of them very senior executives who are now, have recently, and/or will again run very large Internet companies. Their reactions, in no particular order:

1. This showed how badly Time Warner needed to shake up AOL’s management, both because “Rondy” (the term used, derisively, to describe the top two departing AOL execs) was not working, and because TW needed to show a big shift in order to convince investors it’s worth backing a spin out of AOL.

2. Armstrong was not going to get any bigger job inside Google, they’re all taken. And he really wanted to do something bigger.

3. This was an “upgrade” for sure, but unwinding AOL and then finding its footing is very hard, so there were doubts remaining as to whether Armstrong is up to it.

4. Related – major doubts as to whether AOL has a path back to relevance and real growth.

5. Armstrong is getting “an undermanaged company with great assets at a low price.”

Author: John Battelle

A founder of NewCo (current CEO), sovrn (Chair), Federated Media, Web 2 Summit, The Industry Standard, Wired. Author, investor, board member (Acxiom, Sovrn, NewCo), bike rider, yoga practitioner.

4 thoughts on “Three Peer-Reviewed Takes On Armstrong and AOL”

  1. Armstrong: You got leads. Mitch & Murray paid good money. Get their names to sell them. You can’t close the leads you’re given, you can’t close shit, *you are* shit, hit the bricks pal, and beat it, ’cause you are going *out*.
    Rondy: The leads are weak.
    Armstrong: “The leads are weak.” The fucking leads are weak? You’re weak. I’ve been in this business fifteen years…
    Rondy: What’s your name?
    Armstrong: Fuck you. That’s my name.
    [Rondy laughs]
    Armstrong: You know why, mister? ‘Cause you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight, I drove an eighty thousand dollar BMW. *That’s* my name.

  2. I would have been more impressed if Tim said he was leaving Google to help the needy; perhaps teacher in a city or work with a missionary program. Hey, this isn’t rocket science; executives like Tim have egos and are tired of listening to someone tell them what to do. Like MSFT Johnson they want control; good for them and good luck. Google has plenty of talented people to take Tim’s place…time rolls on.

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