Kara Swisher

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Detailed Notes From CEO Armstrong's All-Hands Meeting for AOL Staff Today

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After officially announcing that AOL was going to be spun off yesterday, Tim Armstrong, the CEO of the Time (TWX) Warner online unit, held an all-hands meeting for employees today.

BoomTown reported the details of the new structure of AOL yesterday, which Armstrong discussed at the gathering.

Here is a quick synopsis of the meeting, which included a focus on content, advertising and making AOL’s acquisitions work better via a new venture unit.

Several employees I spoke to said Armstrong–who was a former top Google (GOOG) advertising exec, which–not surprisingly–seems to be a strong influence on him–did a good job.

Staffers said they were glad for the vision that Armstrong displayed, which some at the company think has been lacking in recent years.

Here’s a rundown of several key points:

The Google-ization of advertising: AOL’s Platform-A, including its valuable Advertising.com unit, will focus on many more customers, rather than a few big ones.

That includes having more of a self-service model, more like Google.

Content is king: Armstrong stressed content, which comes from AOL’s MediaGlow content unit, run by Bill Wilson.

Content will be a key focus at AOL, which has been investing heavily in media sites over the last several years.

Sink-or-swim start-ups: AOL’s acquisitions–such as the overpriced Bebo social networking unit–have to live and die on their own in a new AOL Ventures Group.

Some will be spun out and some will be sold, but all have to survive by their wits.

Internet company values: Compensation, which has been hindered by Time Warner’s ownership, will be based on how Web companies compensate.

That means stock options and equity, but also more risk and innovation on the part of employees.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald