Posts tagged aol

Verizon Buys AOL: Deja Vu or An Uncharted Adventure

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It’s well known that my husband has worked for AOL for 20+ years. We met at AOL and it’s where I started my post college career. When I finally left for good, I had 12 years under my AOL logo belt. AOL is a big part of our history together and the thread that binds us with many of our closest friends. Today’s announcement – Verizon to Acquire AOL: Deal Creates Unique and Scaled Digital Media Platforms for Consumers, Advertisers and Partners may or may not have a profound affect on us.

Get Comfortable Being UncomfortableBut it will have some affect I am sure. Scott and I were both at AOL when they merged with Time Warner in 2000. What was so exciting in the beginning,  ended up being one of the biggest failures. It’s no wonder that this morning’s announcement has many former AOL’ers recalling previous experience and wondering whether it will play out the same.  AOL’s current leader, Tim Armstrong, seems to feel strongly that it’s the right direction. In CNBC’s coverage online, Why we sold to Verizon: AOL’s Tim Armstrong says “the Verizon deal was the biggest, fastest way to provide a return to AOL’s shareholders and a bright future to its employees.” This explanation is pretty nebulous and not unexpected since the merger was just announced.

I am not sure what to think about this merger yet. Like many others, my first thought upon hearing the news this AM was “How will this affect my family?” Until I feel comfortable with that answer, the rest isn’t as important. I am curious what others out there are thinking. A former respected AOL colleague shared his thoughts with me…

In 2000, our deal was about “content and cable distro”. Problem was, people fought, and won, and we never got onto TW cable. That, plus illicit conduct, ruined the deal. I had thought in 2005, that they should just fill up CC2 w/ mobile app developers, and let em rip. This deal, is about content (and ads management) on mobile phones. In 2 years, 80% of all content will be consumed on a device. Vz needed reliable content production, with ad platforms built in. TA will get a huge job at Vz. He hit it big, again. Overall, prob a good thing, and maybe becomes a good place, again?

All any of us can do when things like this (aka change) happen, is to be as prepared as you can and learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

 

Happy Hours are good for your health

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Ben E - Grillworks

Part of taking care of yourself is having fun. We all get stuck in the grind of our lives — not really feeling like we have or want to put in the energy to go out and be social. I decided to start focusing on getting out there and meeting people, talking with them about new ideas — just start really putting myself out there. So I have been reconnecting with friends I havent seen in a while and it’s been great. The AOL alumni reaches far and wide. Thankfully someone by the name of Jason Munson took the initiative to set up a get together regularly for all of us to get together in No VA.  Last night was one of these events in Arlington and I decided to go — what the heck, have some fun, meet up with old friends.  And you know what — it was a great time. I reconnected with a few that I had not seen, like pals Lauren S & Ben Eisendrath, who is now owner of Grillworks – a high end grill that would be any dad’s dream gift for father’s day.  I also met quite a few new people that I will connect with, had a glass of wine and some laughs.

Lauren and I

I had some great times at AOL — I met Scotty there, met some great friends who are still in my life today — and for those that don’t know this — thousands of people worked at AOL and now they reach far and wide out in the land of business. Many of them will offer any help they can to fellow alum – whether that is advice, skills, networking, friendship, you name it. We all started something big together — and went through a wild ride that many people will never get to experience so when we get together, it really is a happy reunion for all.  I felt alot of energy after last night — for me, reconnecting with happy times in my life adds to the motivation and inspiration of where I am today — whether that is super happy or tough.

 

Oh And it was a school night too — I am such a rebel, right?

 

 

I got home later than usual and still got up and headed to my workout — there are no excuses…

Warmup
1 lap run
2x
10 push ups
10 Pass Thrus
10 OHS

Skill
Burgener Warmup

WOD
5 RFT
15 Hang Clean Snatch (45lb)
400m run
total: 18:56

WOW – real deals for real people

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WOW –real deals for real people.
I have been missing my husband Scotty lately all because he has been working super hard with his team at Aol. on this new product – called WOW real deals for real people. Think group deals with the influence and deal making power because of the sheer number of Aol. users. The team at Aol. have been working night and day to bring this to market and I know it’s going to deliver!

Free Yoga Session for Kids at Flow Yoga in Leesburg
My friend Marcia is an awesome person and practices Yoga – and asked me to let others know about Free Kids Yoga this Saturday at Flow Yoga in Leesburg for kids 3-8! Have your kids try something new…..fitness related!

And dont forget –

Nordstrom Beauty Event at Tysons Corner
Cosmetics Trend Show Saturday, November 13, 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Join us to paint the town beautiful highlighting the newest makeup, skincare and fragrance must-haves. Industry experts will update you on the latest beauty trends and share their secrets. Tickets are $15 and are redeemable towards your Cosmetics purchase of $15 or more on the day of the event. Plus, receive a gift for attending the show, while the supply lasts. To purchase a ticket, please call the store and ask for your favorite cosmetics counter. *Offer valid on event date for cosmetic department purchases over $15.00 only

Aol. a great working mom company

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My first job out of college was at Aol. — and as many of you know, I met my husband there, had my 2 wonderful kids while working there (not actually working — but you know what I mean) — it really does have wonderful Parenting benefits —

So I completely agree with its spot in the 100 Best Working Mother Companies

They offer great resources including private and comfy nursing/pumping rooms, a lactation consultant, and paid leave available and the child care center is seriously amazing.  Both my kids have been there since they were babies and are still attending after school care there. I have never ever had a doubt about the love and care they have received there. Some of the staff are like family to me —

Weekend Fun for Families

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Looking for some fun ideas in the Northern VA area this weekend? Here are some — AOL has a great employee parent’s group and they send out this weekly newsletter full of information and ideas and events. Here’s a few events I noticed this upcoming weekend:

SAT 8/28 Greenberg’s Train & Toy Show Greenberg’s Train & Toy Show features almost 500 tables of train dealers, presentations, and a variety of operating model railroad and toy layouts – including trains kids can operate and trains they can ride. http://www.greenbergshows.com

SAT 8/28 Family Fest Inova Loudoun Hospital sponsors the annual event, featuring interactive activities and entertainment focusing on family health and safety, nutrition, education, community awareness, and family fun. http://www.familyfestva.com/activities.html

SAT 8/28 Lucketts Fair Lucketts Fair features handmade crafts and historic demonstrations. Bluegrass bands play in an outdoor gazebo. Two other stages offer live entertainment. Children’s entertainment includes music, shows, a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, and hands-on farm and nature exhibits. And don’t miss the hand-churned ice cream… http://www.theluckettsfair.com

The Great AOL Kids Giveaway — 22 Days of Giveaways

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The Great AOL Kids Giveaway — 22 Days of Giveaways.

AOL Kids is celebrating their launch with 22 days of giveaways. Check out all the GREAT items up for grabs in The Great AOL Kids Giveaway.

Reflecting

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At 25, AOL switches tracks: Creating content, not just connecting users.

A few weeks ago, as Steve Case was flying above Sterling, en route to Dulles International Airport, he looked down and saw the sprawling campus that is home to the company he co-founded 25 years ago this month — the pioneering service that took millions of people online for the first time.

Aol. turned 25 this week and it had me reminiscing about the past. My first job right out of college was Aol. A naive, young girl who hardly knew herself, alone in Tucson, AZ, 1994 with no real plans to do anything post college.  Some people I knew were working at a call center owned by a company called America Online.  I knew nothing about computers but figured at the very least, they would train me in the basics. A good investment for my future and heck I didn’t have any plans and they offered – so I took the job. That was January 1995 – Tucson Arizona.

After 4 weeks of all day training, I hit the floor fielding calls from around the world. I was a lousy tech support rep. I really had no clue what I was doing – at least in the beginning.  I was one of the few women in the call center and everyone around me was young. I don’t think any of us really had a clue what this would become or even what stock options were. I knew they gave me some when I got hired – a very very small sum.  But why that was a good thing – I had no idea. We had a ton of fun though. Late nights, parties, good laughs…we were young – needed little sleep or money to get by.

I met some really fun people and I am still in contact with so many of those people. A few I would even call family. The single  most important thing happened to me there –  I met Scott Hoaglund – who 3.5 years later, would become my husband. We both worked at the Tucson call center for a while before deciding to ditch the southwest and head east to Northern Virginia to work at the coveted HQs in Vienna and Herndon.  Lots of experiences there –and then AOL  moved to their present HQs in Dulles VA.  I changed positions a few times and at at the end, I believe I had logged over 14 managers in the span of 6 years and I hadn’t changed position/departments once! 3 different managers happened over the course of my maternity leave. It was a horribly run department in so many ways. I met many great friends while working at Dulles and met many people with the worst character possible. The Ying and the Yang.

There were a ton of great things about working for Aol. Being a part of the Internet boom was such an exciting thing – to see something small grow and grow and grow. Great benefits, great campus, great people, great perks. Interesting projects – learning constantly – fast paced – fun.

I also saw and experienced things that showed the bad side of people. Integrity and honesty disappeared for some. Young people, who months before, had no cash to their names became instant millionaires who seemed to forget how to treat and relate to others. Egos got bigger and it led to projects being requested for no one’s benefit but their own. I saw lots of executives using our project teams to do personal requests like creating personal boat logos, personal invitations, you name it.  And personal requests aside, the sheer disrespect and arrogance shown by so many of the Mid to upper management became epidemic. The stories I could tell…the money that was spent… but not for everyone. Only for those deemed worthy enough.

I remember during the downward spiral of the Internet, attending an all hands by one executive in particular, one that I remember as being a big arrogant dick – he gave us this “pep talk” about how lucky we are that this company gave us all Mercedes and nice houses.  How out of touch was this guy. Most of the people he was referring to had left the company by then and the rest were working because we HAVE to. There is no Mercedes, they live in their middle class suburban home and/or apartment. This was how it was. A Huge disconnect between the haves and have nots. They were so wrapped up in their own EGO, they lost perspective. Maybe they never had it or maybe they never cared to even gain it… who knows.  It was definitely an white boys network. I hung up my AOL hat, November of 2006.

And while I respect both Steve and Ted for what they helped create, cultivate and inspired, turning a blind eye to what was going on at the company does not negate their part and/or responsibility in creating and perpetuating that culture.  It’s easy to look back at it all with fondness  – blocking the view of the many, many, many people, who had to time and time again endure the instability and uncertainty of layoffs and job loss.

I am sure many companies have similar stories. AOL was my frame of reference. I had many wonderful experiences at AOL and gained many skills. I gained alot from AOL and it’s because of working there, that I am where I am. And while I do look back at it fondly in so many respects, I will never lose perspective of the complete reality of it all. And I am not bitter – I have a great life, and a part of that was my time at AOL – I just also don’t prefer to sugar coat the past.

27:05 AOL Spring into Summer 5k

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Link to race results

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