If you try checking out Tim Armstrong at a leading reference site like Wikipedia, you won’t really notice much about him, except from being a non-MBAer with a double degree from a school other than the known “biggies”. Really? Why?
Well, aside from him being Google’s former head of Americas operation and now the Chairman and CEO of AOL, there’s really nothing much to talk about Armstrong; as AOL is also still trying to find its way back to relevance.
See. For one, America OnLine used to be a giant among ISPs, unfortunately, its “evolution” was not well planned and timed as evidenced by its unfruitful moves like the 2000 merger with Time Warner that resulted in a split by 2009. And more so, even before the split, an AOL subscription had gained the notoriety of being rated as the “Worst Tech Product of All-Time” by PC World in 2006.
These unfortunate events continued even with the changing of Leadership in November 2006 to Randy Falco, who in 2008 purchased social networking site Bebo.com for $850M. Incidentally, this money-losing operation paved the way for the entry of Tim Armstrong as AOLs new chief executive by March 2009; and Bebo.com was eventually disposed by 2010.
Looking at the tracks, the next CEO obviously has an unenviable task of “cleaning up” the organization and bringing it back to life, which explains why nothing much has been written about Armstrong until recently…
To date, Armstrong has already made some good moves including the acquisition of TechCrunch in September 2010 and The Huffington Post in February 2011. And even with revenue expectations falling a bit short with Patch recently, still, the calculated moves of Armstrong has brought in some sort of stability to AOLs future.
Yes, we see that AOL has been investing a lot – from content to video to ad tech – and whether this pays off or not is no longer the question; but understand that more than any traditional qualification, the “Best Decision Makers” are actually those that could thoroughly comprehend the situation.
What’s your take?