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).
Yahoo should buy them to bolster their bullshit lawsuit against Facebook. There’s probably some patent in there about the use of the color blue within online systems.
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.
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.
As Jason notes, Diller doesn’t nail this, but he’s more right than wrong.
Disrupt is now over. There will be time to reflect on just how fucked up this has been.