AOL-ster: Jesse Kornbluth on Kara Swisher’s latest book

Jesse Kornbluth is one of my favorite journalists–the guy’s amazingly talented. The review he sent along of THERE MUST BE A PONY IN HERE SOMEWHERE
by Kara Swisher, with Lisa Dickey, is well worth reading.
For the interested, some excerpts here:
“Someone gave me a shrewd piece of advice when I became Editorial Director of America Online in 1997. “If you don’t have conflicts of interest,” she said, “you’re not doing it right.”
I’m gone from AOL now, and most of my conflicts of interest have evaporated. (Disclosure: I’ve known Kara Swisher for six years. She used to bug me for information; I never had any.) And I’m “over” AOL; the fascination of its internal drama faded as the company’s prospects declined. As it is for many of you, AOL is mostly an e-mail address for me; how warring millionaires fought over the arrangement of the deck chairs on this particular Titanic is of very little interest.

But THERE MUST BE A PONY IN HERE SOMEWHERE, Kara Swisher’s account of “the AOL Time Warner Debacle and the Quest for a Digital Future,” was too good to put down so quickly. ….This is not just a fast-paced, well-told story, it’s one that invites readers to look for a moral. Some will think it’s hubris, others the blinding power of riches. I see the book as a study in conflicts of interest — well before the merger, I would argue, AOL stopped focusing on its customers and started living for Wall Street. The execs didn’t care enough to notice that AOL’s technology was rusting, that its programming was 24/7 Britney, that members had to fight their way through a sea of pop-up ads to get to their mail.”
Go, Jesse! The book excerpt is here.. Buy the book from Bookreporter here.

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