Fast Company on AOL: Dead Man Walking

Fast Company is truly re energizing itself and this article on AOL is excellent. One of my favorite quotes:
“Neither Time Warner’s now-CEO Bewkes nor Falco or Grant would agree to speak with us. But in extensive interviews with dozens of current and former AOL insiders (many of whom would speak only on background), what emerges is a tale of failure on multiple fronts: short-term thinking, bad technology, bungled product development, a dramatic miscalculation of what drives page views on its own site, and a risk-averse culture more prone to imitation than innovation. “Pretty much everything we worked on,” says a former AOL manager, “executives pointed to someone else’s product and said, ‘We want that.'”
Assuming this is true, AOL isn’t the only wanna-be company out there, but clearly, copy cat strategies are fatal.
The other quote with lots of relevance: “At the simplest level, AOL’s troubles in the past couple of years are the story of a business without a vision and therefore without guiding principles to clarify which risks are worth taking — and which are worth sticking to.”
Update: AOL’s reinvented itself several times, but it a case study in missed opportunities and arrogant senior managers and civil servant like rank and file, both persistent problems–this piece does a good job on ringing the changes on why reinvention is so difficult.