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An awful lot of successful technology companies ended up being in a slightly different market than they started out in. Microsoft started with programming tools, but came out with an operating system. Oracle started doing contracts for the CIA. AOL started out as an online video gaming network.
In my view, it's irreverence, foolish confidence and naivety combined with persistence, open mindedness and a continual ability to learn that created Facebook, Google, Yahoo, eBay, Microsoft, Apple, Juniper, AOL, Sun Microsystems and others.
Remember when those CD-ROMs from AOL came in the mail almost every day? The company was considered ubiquitous, invincible. Former AOL CEO Steve Case was no less a genius than Mark Zuckerberg.
Prior to email, our private correspondence was secured by a government institution called the postal service. Today, we trust AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, or Gmail with our private utterances.
The Internet will win because it is relentless. Like a cannibal, it even turns on it own. Though early portals like Prodigy and AOL once benefited from their first-mover status, competitors surpassed them as technology and consumer preferences changed.
I think international is a place that, actually, The Huffington Post and AOL have started to make moves in.
AOL was a roller coaster ride. I was lucky and privileged to be a part of it, both the ups and the downs.
I continue to have a special pride and passion for AOL, and I strongly believe that AOL - once the leading Internet company in the world - can return to its past greatness.
I think, from a standpoint of editorial, you know, AOL historically has played in a very deep way across many different verticals in the content space. Huffington Post adds a very large new dimension to that.
I think if the average person that uses AOL can't physically see the changes in the company, we've failed.
It's easy to make fun of AOL's pending purchase of HuffPo. Just like AOL's purchase of TimeWarner, here we have a new media company - Huffington Post - fooling an old media company, AOL, into overpaying for something that has already peaked.
Mahalo's business model is advertising. Yahoo, Google, Ask, AOL and MSN are all advertising-based. So I don't see anything wrong with advertising-based search.
I think it took us nine years to get one million subscribers to AOL, and then in the next nine years we went from one million to 35 million.
Our independence from AOL was so important to me that I negotiated an extremely odd provision in our purchase agreement that allowed me to disclose confidential information about AOL. It was their job never to give me that information. It was not my job to protect it in any way.
More than once at TechCrunch, we made AOL extremely uncomfortable with things that we wrote. But they never ordered us to write or not write about something because they understood that not only would we not comply, we'd write a post about the whole thing.
Because I do think - not just in building AOL - but just the world in which we live is a very confusing, rapidly changing world where technology has accelerated.
I think the support of the other team at AOL and everybody's really shared passion and belief about this and - saying that some day everybody was going to be on line.
If AOL had ever ordered me to remove a piece of content from the site for any reason, I would have immediately written about it and disclosed the situation to our readers. And if I had ever ordered a writer to remove content, I would have expected that writer to have done the same to me.
Social media is not the same in 2013 as it was in 2003 - or even 2008 or 2011. You didn't carry around AOL chat in your pocket or look at it when you were in class.
Nancy Jo Sales
I really do love social media. I've always been crazy about - even like, remember AOL chat rooms? I always loved message boards, and I was always interacting on the computer.
A big part of fixing AOL is getting AOL to believe in itself.
What's happening internally is eventually what will take AOL back to being a growth company.
One of AOL's biggest assets is its brand. For people over 30 and, due to AOL Instant Messenger, even a lot of people under 30, AOL was their first real interaction with technology in a positive way.
Well I'm a longtime AOL subscriber and I love the whole thing. I'm an email junkie and I love the internet, though 7th Heaven doesn't give me much free time to surf these days.
When I was at AOL, I was always on the web media side while much of the company was focused on the ISP business. We focused on big categories like celebrities and sports, and we created brands around that category like AOL Celebrities, AOL Movies and Fanhouse.
AOL, I think, represented an opportunity for a few things. One is I'm a big believer in the AOL brand, and I think AOL as a brand has touched hundreds of millions of people around the world. Reigniting that brand is a very exciting challenge and a big opportunity.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Though lovers be lost love shall not.
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