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Posts Tagged ‘Tim Armstrong’

New Catchphrase? Tim Armstrong Deems Patch an ‘Asset with Optionality’

ShutterstockTimArmstrongFor Patch local editors grappling with shopping mall Santa features and overseeing in some cases a great many additional hubs, these words likely rang hollow. But to FishbowlNY’s ears, a portion of Tim Armstrong‘s remarks at this week’s UBS conference were Office Space-worthy.

Per a report by Ad Age‘s Alex Kantrowitz, Armstrong suggested that the possibility of a major impending partnership for Patch is one big reason AOL shareholders should view the hyper-local network as an “asset with optionality.” Rather than, say, an “option with assanality” or a “gigantic tactical embarrassment.”

We’re going to suggest right here and now: Any NYC media denizen who manages to seamlessly make use of this terminology at an upcoming holiday celebration will forever earn our admiration. That bowl of spiked punch? That empty conference room? That fully loaded copier? These are all, theoretically, “assets with optionality.”

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AOL Revenues Increase, Profits Plummet

AOL logo GAOL reported its third quarter earnings today. The good news is that revenue increased by six percent, from $532 million last year to $561 million this year. The bad news is that profits dropped 90 percent, to only $2 million.

The decline in net income was mostly due to Patch, AOL’s hyperlocal news sites that never quite panned out. AOL reported a $19 million pretax restructuring cost and a $25 million impairment charge, both related to Patch.

At some point, you would think AOL would stop the Patch experiment. The company regularly cuts employees and even shutters sites, yet Patch continues to be deadweight.

Tim Armstrong, AOL’s CEO, is either much smarter than everyone realizes, or much more naive. He claims that Patch will be profitable by the end of the year. Somehow, we just don’t see that happening.

Business Insider Welcomes Four New Media Figures to the ‘Silicon Alley 100′

The website’s annual “Silicon Alley 100″ list is set to post Thursday at 8 a.m. However, to whet everyone’s appetite, the BI folks were kind enough to give FishbowlNY an advance peek at the media folks represented.

BusinessInsiderLogoNew to the list:

Eli Pariser, Peter Koechley / Upworthy
Rich Antoniello / Complex Media
Bryan Goldberg /  Bustle

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Court Document Reveals Details of Arianna’s AOL Windfall

So it was nowhere near $100 million, the loosely reported territory that had many unpaid Huffington Post bloggers seeing red at the time of the site’s acquisition by AOL. Still, for Arianna Huffington, the February 2011 transaction amounted to some very nice Brentwood trickle-down.

TheSmokingGunLogoPer a nine-page internal AOL document filed in court and obtained by The Smoking Gun, Huffington scored around $21 million when AOL purchased HuffPo. Eighteen million in cash and the rest in the form of AOL stock options with a 20-month vesting period:

Additionally, her employment agreement – which was then being negotiated – called for Huffington to receive another $3 million in equity grants (stock options and restricted stock units)…

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Florida Startup Pitches Tim Armstrong About Hyper-Local

The August 22 post on New Tampa Patch by Skylar Hedstrom is only ten words long. Although it does manage to properly embed a recent video pitch to AOL CEO Tim Armstrong from local startup UNATION, the fact that the “article” contains no additional commentary or quick interview quote from the nearby Tampa firm reinforces just how hyper-challenged the AOL network remains.*

UNATION has been beta testing its own hyper-local product for the past two years. In late October, the company will officially launch its free event listing service. As the the site grows, UNATION hopes to convince users to add premium services and draw in like-minded advertisers.

“Last spring, we were at the AOL offices in New York,” UNATION co-founder and chief strategy officer George Beardsley tells FishbowlNY. “We weren’t ready to show them anything, as we were still in alpha testing at that point. The topic of Patch did not come up.”

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Morning Media Newsfeed: Greenwald Partner Held | Fox Buys Vice Stake | 480 Out at Patch


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Glenn Greenwald’s Partner Detained at Heathrow Airport for Nine Hours (The Guardian)
The partner of the Guardian journalist who has written a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programs by the US National Security Agency was held for almost nine hours on Sunday by UK authorities as he passed through London’s Heathrow airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro. David Miranda, who lives with Glenn Greenwald, was returning from a trip to Berlin when he was stopped by officers at 8:05 a.m. and informed that he was to be questioned under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The controversial law, which applies only at airports, ports and border areas, allows officers to stop, search, question and detain individuals. The Guardian / Comment Is Free Greenwald: “This was obviously designed to send a message of intimidation to those of us working journalistically on reporting on the NSA and its British counterpart, the GCHQ. Before letting him go, they seized numerous possessions of his, including his laptop, his cellphone, various video game consoles, DVDs, USB sticks, and other materials. They did not say when they would return any of it, or if they would.” NYT The Guardian had paid for the trip, Greenwald said, and Miranda was on his way home to Rio de Janeiro. London’s Metropolitan Police Service, which had jurisdiction over the case, said in a statement that Miranda had been lawfully detained under the Terrorism Act and later released, without going into detail. Amnesty International “It is utterly improbable that David Michael Miranda, a Brazilian national transiting through London, was detained at random, given the role his husband has played in revealing the truth about the unlawful nature of NSA surveillance,” said Widney Brown, senior director of international law and policy at Amnesty International. AndrewSullivan.com My obvious question is: What could possibly lead the British security services to suspect Miranda of such ties to terror groups? I have seen nothing anywhere that could even connect his spouse to such nefarious contacts. Unless Greenwald is some kind of super-al-Qaeda mole, he has none to my knowledge and to suspect him of any is so close to unreasonable it qualifies as absurd.

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Forty Percent of Patch Staffers Getting Cut Today

Tim Armstrong, AOL’s CEO, is ready to make those cuts he put off last Friday. Jim Romenesko reports that in a conference call, Armstrong said 40 percent of Patch staffers — 480 people — will be laid off today.

Armstrong also said that 60 percent of Patch sites will continue to operate, 20 percent will form partnerships with other sites and 20 percent will be consolidated or sold.

For those that are staying with Patch, this is one of those “Is this a good thing or a bad thing” scenarios, because we imagine with the closings they’ll now be asked to do more with less.

Morning Media Newsfeed: Armstrong Apologizes | Bustle Launch Slammed | Jack Germond Dies


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Tim Armstrong: I Made an Emotional Mistake Firing That Guy (Business Insider)
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong sent out the following memo to AOL staff, which we’ve obtained from a source inside the company. The memo is in reference to Armstrong’s firing of Patch creative director Abel Lenz on an all-hands conference call last week. Armstrong writes that he’s spoken to Lenz and apologized, but it still appears that Lenz is fired. NYT Armstrong: “I am writing you to acknowledge the mistake I made last Friday during the Patch all-hands meeting when I publicly fired Abel Lenz. It was an emotional response at the start of a difficult discussion dealing with many people’s careers and livelihoods. I am the CEO and leader of the organization, and I take that responsibility seriously.” NY Observer But although Armstrong apologized for his emotional response, Lenz is somewhat to blame, according to the CEO. “Internal meetings of a confidential nature should not be filmed or recorded so that our employees can feel free to discuss all topics openly,” Armstrong wrote. “Abel had been told previously not to record a confidential meeting, and he repeated that behavior on Friday, which drove my actions.” FishbowlNY We’re not sure why it took Armstrong two full business days to circulate an internal apology for his on-the-spot firing of Lenz while chairing the Aug. 9 company-wide conference call. NY Post Legal experts say the axed employee could have solid grounds for a suit against his former employer. “The danger of firing someone in front of all those people, he could say that the termination makes it harder for him to get a job or damages his career,” said Randi Kochman, an employment lawyer at Cole Schotz. JimRomenesko.com “Over the last five sales days, we have amassed our worst results of the year,” Patch director of U.S. sales Jim Lipuma tells his ad-sales force in a memo he put out Tuesday. “We need to come together, right now, and behave as we always have…like winners.”

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Tim Armstrong Apologizes for Conference Call Canning

We’re not sure why it took AOL CEO Tim Armstrong two full business days to circulate an internal apology for his on-the-spot firing of Patch creative director Abel Lenz while chairing a Friday August 9 company-wide conference call. But per Romenesko, Peter Kafka and others, that missive has finally been dispatched:

Internal meetings of a confidential nature should not be filmed or recorded so that our employees can feel free to discuss all topics openly. Abel had been told previously not to record a confidential meeting, and he repeated that behavior on Friday, which drove my actions…

On Friday I acted too quickly and I learned a tremendous lesson and I wanted you to hear that directly from me…

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Morning Media Newsfeed: AOL CEO’s Public Firing | ME Gov ‘Threatens’ Paper | NPR’s ‘Flawed’ Report


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Listen to AOL CEO Tim Armstrong Fire Patch’s Creative Director During A Conference Call (JimRomenesko.com)
AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong fired Patch creative director Abel Lenz two minutes into Friday’s call with Patch employees. Lenz’s sin: Taking a picture of the CEO during his talk. Business Insider The call was supposed to be Armstrong’s attempt to rally the troops. During the first minute or so of the recording, Armstrong says things like: “If you don’t believe what I’m about to say, I’m going to ask you to leave Patch… We have to get Patch into a place where it’s going to be successful.” But then things go suddenly awry. At exactly two minutes into the recording, Armstrong addresses someone in the room with him. He says, “Abel, put that camera down, now.” Then, without taking a breath, Armstrong says, “Abel, you’re fired. Out.” Business Insider A few minutes later, Armstrong complained about leaks to the media. He said the leaks were making Patch seem like “loser-ville” in the press. He said, “That’s why Abel was fired… We can’t have people that are in the locker room giving the game plan away.” When media reporter Jim Romenesko tweeted at Lenz, he replied: “I appreciate the interest Jim, but I have nothing to share. Go Patch!” TechCrunch The stakes at Patch are high because AOL has promised it will see positive revenue by the end of the year, which is a tall order given its most recent earnings results. These cuts and shifts in strategy are drastic measures, but that’s exactly what’s required if Armstrong wants to make good on a promise of Patch profitability by year’s end. NY Post By some estimates, AOL has spent more than $300 million on Patch since 2009, and it has yet to turn a profit.

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