Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Tim Armstrong's 100-Day Vision Quest Nearing End: Party in Dulles! (And Then What?)

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Back on April 7, Tim Armstrong sent a memo to the long-battered troops of AOL about a 100-day vision quest the new CEO and chairman was going on to find out “how to bring back the magic of AOL.”

It is now Day 86, and Armstrong is closing in on the end of a Where’s-Waldo commitment that he made then to visit all of the far-flung offices of the Time Warner (TWX) online unit globally.

More importantly, as it is almost over, Armstrong also has to make good on another promise he made in that memo he sent to the staff on his first day:

“The culmination of the 100-day process will end in Dulles with an All-Hands meeting in mid-July. At that meeting, we’ll review the feedback we’ve received–both internal and external. We’ll also discuss our strategic direction for the coming years, and highlight areas that will bring AOL and AOL properties into the next decade of digital leadership. Most importantly, we will set a course and focus all of our resources to make that course a success.”

BoomTown is eager to see what Armstrong has found out on his trip and what path it will ultimately put AOL on.

So far, the broad outlines of his strategy seem to center on expanding AOL’s content assets, strengthening its advertising network and getting out of businesses the company cannot compete well in, such as social networking.

What other pearls of wisdom Armstrong has gleaned are to still to be revealed, presumably.

His corporate version of “The Amazing Race” is certainly a novel idea, born at his first all-hands meeting in Dulles, Va., which used to be the world-wide HQ of AOL and remains its heart.

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There, Armstrong (pictured here) joked to the crowd:

“I know that work goes on across the globe and, in the first 90 days, I’m going to try to visit every office we have and sit down and talk to every employee and that will be something that my wife has actually agreed to let me do so.”

Thus, spouse-approved, the former Google (GOOG) exec has circumnavigated the globe and has held meeting with employees in a wide range of places: Dulles; New York; Baltimore; San Francisco; Mountain View, Calif.; Toronto, Lancaster, Pa.; Denver; Hamburg; London; Paris; Bangalore; Dublin and, this week, Tel Aviv.

But it has not been all tourism, in search of innovation.

During this time, Armstrong has also dispatched employees and top execs, such as advertising head Greg Coleman and communications and communities head Joanna Shields, and hired a few key staffers of his own; announced a pending spinoff of the company; and bought some stuff (including a company he funded).

It will be interesting to see what comes next–after the 100-day gathering in Dulles, which should come sometime after Armstrong’s July 15 deadline, of course.

Party on, Tim.


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— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google