A Warning to AOL Top Dogs

April 14, 2011

AOL may have a chance now that Arianna Huffington is on the job. I think the silly stuff will go away, and the basics are going to put front and center. Now AOL’s top dog is a Xoogler, and before the management twists and turns at Google revealed how “controlled chaos” does not work so well, the Xoogler was set. Big money, a brand, and a dream for “publishing”. The happy “AOL way” may be going in a direction that the former Xoogler did not anticipate. I would hazard that the Xoogler did not think that the acquisitions of Arianna Huffington’s content company would upset the Xoogler’s dreams of a bright, happy future.

aol love

The first indication that Ms. Huffington may be the next boss of AOL can be seen in the write up “About that Lawsuit”. Upon reading the article, I noticed this passage:

The key point that the lawsuit completely ignores (or perhaps fails to understand) is how new media, new technologies, and the linked economy have changed the game, enabling millions of people to shift their focus from passive observation to active participation — from couch potato to self-expression. Writing blogs, sending tweets, updating your Facebook page, editing photos, uploading videos, and making music are options made possible by new technologies. The same people who never question why someone would sit on a couch and watch TV for eight hours straight can’t understand why someone would find it rewarding to weigh in on the issues — great and small — that interest them. For free. They don’t understand the people who contribute to Wikipedia for free, who maintain their own blogs for free, who tweet for free, who constantly refresh and update their Facebook pages for free, and who want to help tell the stories of what is happening in their lives and in their communities… for free.

What I took from this passage was:

  1. Most people, including lawyers, don’t understand what Ms. Huffington discerned about content and information
  2. The innovation, which I think is an apt word, is hugely disruptive. I think her approach is more disruptive than other folks creating content are comfortable accepting.
  3. The person who allegedly wrote this quoted passage is more than a person who sold a company to a big, clueless entity. Folks, when I looked at this passage and the entire write up, I saw the boss that AOL needs.


Here is a “kitten”.

Will Ms. Huffington emerge as the top dog at a company where search once meant PLS (personal library software), Fast Search & Transfer, deals with Google, and other nips and tucks. The confused approach to search at AOL such as the fumbling of the Relegence technology are going to sucked into Ms. Huffington’s system.

Fixing search and fast-tracking her influence is now underway. Who gets this? We do here in Harrod’s Creek? Does Mr. Tasini? Nah. The top dogs at AOL? Maybe only a hint of the Inconel 235 in Ms. Huffington’s approach. Think “kittens”. Think Love.com.

Stephen E Arnold, April 14, 2011



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