AOL/Time Warner

Losing AOL
It should come as a shock to no one that Time Warner executives finally came to the conclusion that the AOL name was a drag on the old empire. I was once an AOL member. But then I grew up. AOL has always been training wheels for the Internet, and it was incredibly foolish for Time Warner to sink all its marbles into what amounts to a closed ISP. But here’s the real lesson. The Internet is a postmodern communications medium. AOL is a modernist institution. You cannot promise freedom to Pomos and try to control them at the same time. Pomos detest elitism. They are anti-authority, and that includes the big business of AOL. In order for AOL to work, everybody has to do everything AOL’s way. That’s the antithesis of postmoderns, who (thank you very much) choose to do things their own way. A lot of people think broadband is killing AOL, but that’s just a symptom. The bigger issue is that the company’s core competency ran afoul of the cultural shift. It was destined for failure in the long term, and Time Warner figured that out.

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