Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

All Hail, Smithers and Burns!

Valleywag got a hold of a sticker (see below) that Bebo employees are passing around in anticipation of the close of the purchase of the third-ranked social-networking site by AOL for $850 million in cash.

The motto: “I, for one, welcome our new AOL overlords.”

Why shouldn’t they? As BoomTown reported, every Bebo employee has had their previously granted stock options accelerated and fully vested under terms of the deal.

This is typical in acquisitions by the Time Warner (TWX) online subsidiary, since it cannot offer enough of its moribund old media stock.


Unfortunately, those kind of deal terms don’t make for the kind of environment that encourages already jumpy entrepreneurs to stay. In fact, it kind of gives them a free pass to leave.

Still, it is nice to see Bebo minions celebrating their new bosses, including AOL CEO Randy Falco and President Ron Grant, who helmed the Bebo deal.

But to clarify for Bebo staff: Falco and Grant’s nickname at AOL is Smithers and Burns, that lovable pair from “The Simpsons,” and not overlords.

It goes without saying that further errors like this will not be tolerated.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik