#aol

It’s better for us to have an industry-wide shared platform than to be divided. I don’t want to get to a ‘Prodigy and CompuServe’ of the Internet of Things.

Rob Chandhok, senior vice president of Qualcomm, comparing the competing standards groups to walled-off online services in the 1990s. Not mentioned, of course, is that another walled-off online service, America Online, came around and crushed them both. Weird analogy to draw.

Update from Chandhok on Twitter: Not a Tumblr dude but @parislemon,  if you want to dissect my quote on #IoT we can discuss here.. was drawing analogy to Web disruption:-)

Brooks Barnes:

“The 777-FILM numbers will no longer be in service in the near future,” intones a man with a voice decidedly scrawnier in timbre than Mr. Moviefone’s. “To buy tickets and for all of your showtime information please download the free Moviefone app on your smartphone or iPad.”

Russ Leatherman, a founder of Moviefone who provided the famous greeting, left the company last November.

The automated telephone service — once so popular that it was lampooned on “Seinfeld” — will be disconnected in about a month, before a planned reintroduction of the Moviefone brand by AOL and BermanBraun, a web and television company.

End of an era. Amazing that AOL paid $388 million for this company in 1999 and now they view it as essentially worthless just 15 years later.

Nice NYT Q&A with Steve Case by Adam Bryant. On the topic of “what he would have done differently” after the AOL/Time Warner merger:

One would be that if we’d brought these companies together — and I say this somewhat in jest, but it makes a point — we should have fired the top 50 executives, myself included, and hired 50 new executives who brought new perspectives and could look at this through the focus on the future, not in the rearview mirror. It would have done better. There is a reason why that happens whenever a new president is elected. They bring in an entirely new team to get behind their vision and execute that vision. If it were the same 50 people from the prior administration being asked to implement new policies for the new president, it would not work.

An interesting way to think about a mega-merger: combine the assets and get new blood in there to run it.

It’s great to see entrepreneurs have a successful exit. It’s even better to see them have the balls to buy the company back and try again (which CrunchFund gladly helped with).

Congrats to Tony, Ryan, and the entire About.me team (which remarkably was still intact inside of Aol). Here’s my profile (which you’ll note I have linked first and foremost in the new header up top).

Limbs Are Replaceable, Heads Are Not

As you’ve probably heard by now, Heather Harde — my boss for the past three years or so — has quit AOL. There’s not much more to say beyond what Mike already has. This is just really sad — sad because it never should have gone down this way.

Heather was far and away the best boss I ever had. She’s also the hardest working person I’ve ever met. She could and probably should be the CEO of dozens of other companies in Silicon Valley. Hopefully she’ll do that now, if she wants.

Forget myself or Paul or Sarah leaving TechCrunch. Forget even Mike leaving TechCrunch. Heather’s departure is by far the biggest blow to the company — and Mike would be the first to say that.

Given its scale (which we all built over the years) TechCrunch will survive without Heather, but it will never be the same. I honestly can’t think of a single person they could put in place that would be able to do a fraction of what Heather was able to do on the business side of things. It will be totally different now. Maybe that’s fine, but it will never be better.

Again, this is all just incredibly frustrating because it really didn’t have to happen this way. And yet, it did.

Thanks for everything Heather.

What Needs To Be Said

All day, I kept telling myself I shouldn’t say anything. Then I realized: what the fuck? Be honest.

I found Paul’s post tactless. And I found Erick’s response inappropriate. Perhaps both are fitting given the entire clusterfuck that is this situation. But both are also quite sad.

Many of you are watching TechCrunch unravel before your very eyes. That sucks. It sucks for me too. But TechCrunch is also too big to fail. One way or another, it will live on. Try as hard as AOL might, they can’t totally fuck it up. That’s just the truth.

Also the truth: AOL has not reached out to me once in this entire situation. You’d think they might care about something like that. Evidently, they don’t. I’m not losing any sleep over it, but it’s curious.

I appreciate the outpouring of support from everyone. No matter what happens, don’t worry, I’ll be fine. I’m just sincerely worried about the state of AOL that they seem to have a total disregard for the actual situation. TechCrunch is a key property and one of the few bright spots in their portfolio. But to them, it’s apparently just numbers.

That’s a losing stance. TechCrunch may survive with that stance, but it will not thrive as it has. That’s the CNET stance. Complacency is poison.

Everyone still at TechCrunch knows this. That’s why Paul’s post is dangerous. He’s shining the spotlight on something, but he’s missing the mark. There is exactly one person to blame for all of this — and her name is not Erick.