Kara Swisher

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AOL Hires Associated Content’s Luke Beatty in Key Strategy Role

Luke Beatty — the well-known entrepreneur who created Associated Content and later sold it to Yahoo for $90 million — will be taking a key job at AOL as its head of strategic partnerships.

It will be a new position for AOL, which said that Beatty, who has deep content experience, will “make sure AOL can continue to identify and capture the massive partnership opportunities available in our space.”

In an interview yesterday, Beatty said that AOL has not been focused on thinking about outside alliances in a company-wide way, and instead has pushed down the efforts into the individual properties and business units.

“It’s great to be able to identify opportunities for our properties that they have in common, and find the right partners to help them realize their goals,” said Beatty, who said he will be working across all of AOL’s content, brands, advertising and technology.

Most recently, Beatty was managing director at Techstars, a startup accelerator. Before that, he was a VP at Yahoo, where he ran the business for the consumer properties group. Under CEO Marissa Mayer, Yahoo had been trying to get Beatty to return.

He came to Yahoo in 2010, when it paid $90 million for the then-six-year-old Associated Content, a crowdsourcing content platform. Its first investor was … drum roll … AOL CEO Tim Armstrong.

Another adorkable fact: Beatty and Armstrong were also college roommates, and lived together after they graduated.

But Beatty will report to chief analytics officer Tim Lemmon, although he will be operating out of Denver, where he lives.

“I will be on a plane a lot in the next year,” he said.

Beatty is one of several hires of well-regarded execs of late. Razorfish CEO Bob Lord was hired in July as the new head of the AOL Networks advertising unit, while former Gilt Groupe CEO and media exec Susan Lyne was appointed head of the AOL Brand group in February.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus