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As AOL Prepares To Downsize Patch, CEO Fires Employee During Meeting

timothy posted about a year ago | from the now-that's-offsides dept.

America Online 248

An anonymous reader writes "AOL is closing or plans to sell nearly half of the 900 'hyperlocal' news websites operated by its money-losing Patch Media subsidiary (TechCrunch is also owned by AOL). Hundreds of staff layoffs are believed to be imminent. AOL acquired Patch in 2009, soon after ex-Googler Tim Armstrong took over as CEO; Armstrong was also a co-founder of Patch. During a tough conference call last Thursday Armstrong told Patch editors: 'Something at Patch has been missing for some time and that's leadership – leadership with a capital L'. Armstrong then demonstrated his grasp of Donald Trump's management style by firing an employee during the meeting for taking a picture. At 1:18 of the NY Post's sound clip from Jim Romensko: 'Leaking information Patch isn't going to bother me. I'm not changing direction'. At 2:00: 'Abel [Creative Director Lenz], put that camera down. Abel, you're fired. Out.' Armstrong later explained that 'The reason I fired Abel is I don't want anyone taking pictures of this meeting' and that, much like a sports team, AOL couldn't afford to have people 'giving the game plan away'."

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248 comments

What a dick (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536741)

I hope he is treated similarly

Re:What a dick (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536759)

"What a dick". So now that Slashdot has been reduced to a series of one-syllable grunts and insults from small children, it's pretty much dead. Right? Can we get Netcraft to confirm this?

Re:What a dick (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536849)

"similarly" has four syllables. Not that you can count that high.

Re:What a dick (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537103)

What kind of a dipshit takes photos of a strategy meeting? Despite the comic relief it may provide on instagram.

Re:What a dick (3, Informative)

Lisias (447563) | about a year ago | (#44537193)

The one that's used to make record of all meetings for the internal news site?

A photo on a "strategical meeting" where no graphs or slides are being shown is not a strategic threat. However, I sound recording device is always a threat, and I'm pretty sure that at least one would be active at that time - you can bet your arse I would do it if a colleague of mine were fired that way for a probable grievance.

In some countries, being firing someone this way is the best way to get a good indemnification for moral damages.

Re:What a dick (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537225)

It will be very exciting to watch this company disappear.

Re:What a dick (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#44537261)

I hope he is treated similarly

If I had stock in AOL, I'd be making the call to sell it all. Now. The reason is as old as humanity itself: True genius doesn't run around telling everyone "I'm a genius!" anymore than true sanity runs around saying "I'm the sanest one here!" If you're pointing out your virtues to others, you have none to speak of.

Or, to quote the Tao Te Ching, "The best leaders go unnoticed by the people. The next best are loved and praised by the people. Then there are those who are feared by the people.
Lastly there are those who are despised."

Guess which one this guy is? He's a shit leader, to enamored with his own self-importance to be useful to an investor. Sell. Sell. Sell now. Sell.

Re:What a dick (4, Insightful)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#44537319)

If I had stock in AOL, I'd be making the call to sell it all.

In fact, it looks like an attractive short. 100% runup over period of a year followed by flat for a year, followed by this outburst, certain to drive away whatever talent remains. P/E of 29, that's a little rich for a company with no realistic growth story and a baboon for a CEO. Hmmm.

Re:What a dick (5, Funny)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#44537355)

Result of searching for "aol growth prospects" on finance.google.com:

Your search - aol growth prospects - produced no matches. [google.com]

Re:What a dick (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#44537371)

To be sure, that is because Google finance's search engine is broken beyond repair, but it's still funny.

Re:What a dick (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year ago | (#44537357)

"True genius doesn't run around telling everyone "I'm a genius!" "

You are right, of course. I save it for Slashdot! ;-)

"If you're pointing out your virtues to others, you have none to speak of."

Try that in an interview sometime. There is a humble way and an arrogant way to point out ones own virtues. Since you are into philosophy I'll use an example of right speaking (from the Buddhist 8 way path). If someones life is on the line, and you are more competent than the person or people trying to save them, then it would be not only bad, but possibly deadly, not to point out your virtues. Pointing out your virtues is not in and of itself arrogant or egotistical. One can have true humility and still recognize their own strengths and share the knowledge of their existence with others. It is all about what you think and your motive for saying it. If someone asks if you are good at something and you are quite good at it and know it, but you instead claim to be average or below, we call that false humility for a reason. In short, nothing is as simple as you make it out to be.

That being said, this individual clearly practiced neither right speaking, right thought, nor right action in this case.

Re:What a dick (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about a year ago | (#44537451)

"If you're pointing out your virtues to others, you have none to speak of."

Try that in an interview sometime.... If someones life is on the line, and you are more competent than the person or people trying to save them, then it would be not only bad, but possibly deadly, not to point out your virtues.

Yes, but there's a difference between "virtue", in the ethical sense, and "skill" or "knowledge".

I've actually been in the situation you describe. [infamous.net] Yelling out, "I used to be a CPR instructor, she's a nurse, anyone better qualified? No? She's in charge!" may have helped save a life here by cutting through the "OMG whut happened?!?!" confusion of the moment. But that's different than "I am an exceptionally honest person, and she is very charitable!" :-)

Re:What a dick (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year ago | (#44537577)

There is only one problem with your argument. I am, in fact an exceptionally honest person, and I am in fact a very charitable person . It doesn't make me better than you, but being able and willing to state it doesn't make it untrue, nor does it make me egotistical or arrogant. I state it merely as a matter of fact.

Re:What a dick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537695)

...and no one with a lick of common sense believes anyone who claims to be the most honest/trustworthy person in the room..

Re:What a dick (2, Interesting)

paiute (550198) | about a year ago | (#44537363)

True genius doesn't run around telling everyone "I'm a genius!" anymore than true sanity runs around saying "I'm the sanest one here!" If you're pointing out your virtues to others, you have none to speak of.

Amen. I think of this whenever I hear a rap singer going on about how tough he is or a country singer going on about how many ragheads he would kill if he only had the chance. Etc. The late Donald Murray, a rifleman in WWII, wrote that the guys who were loudest before combat usually were the ones he could not rely on in a firefight.

Re:What a dick (3, Informative)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#44537311)

Actually, this is the sort of love/hate behavior that Hollywood celebrities have with cameras. They love to flaunt their stuff in front of cameras . . . when invited to do so. But if you catch them not wearing their best makeup . . . they get violent. See tmz.com for examples . . . like Kayne West assaulting a cameraman in an airport.

At any rate, I wouldn't want to work for a company that had a spoiled Hollywood baby as a CEO.

Hey, if you are a big celebrity, and love the fame, deal with it.

Re:What a dick (1)

shentino (1139071) | about a year ago | (#44537679)

The CEO is an ex-Googler. Google takes NDAs and trade secrets very seriously. This is predictable.

Re:What a dick (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537797)

Google likes its hubris.

Re:What a dick (2)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#44537783)

Wow, I didn't realize right away, this asshole is yet another product of Google's asshole factory (former president of Google Americas). Should give you an idea what it is like to actually worik there, as opposed to the myth.

To help AOL he should have fired himself! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536749)

I'm sure that meeting really helped staff morale!

Re:To help AOL he should have fired himself! (5, Funny)

Noughmad (1044096) | about a year ago | (#44536855)

The firings will continue until morale improves!

Re:To help AOL he should have fired himself! (4, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44536995)

He was probably the lucky one. Anyone with talent at that company is polishing their CV instead of working right now.

Re:To help AOL he should have fired himself! (2)

Lisias (447563) | about a year ago | (#44537217)

He was probably the lucky one. Anyone with talent at that company is polishing their CV instead of working right now.

As a matter of fact, it's exactly what the bastards wants - leaving people costs less (in money and in PR) that firing people (pun not intended).

I would like very much to see what would happens if a really lot of people started to taking photos of the meeting after this sad event. Would the CEO fire every single one of them publicly too?

Re:To help AOL he should have fired himself! (4, Insightful)

Mateorabi (108522) | about a year ago | (#44537663)

The problem is that those most able to leave are the first to do so. The highest talent goes first, leaving the duds that would have a hard time conning a interviewer a second time in a row. Its a sorting process that doesn't pay off for the company.

test (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537049)

This is only a test

Re%3Atest (0)

Noughmad (1044096) | about a year ago | (#44537151)

Also+just+a+test.+

test (0)

Noughmad (1044096) | about a year ago | (#44537177)

This is only a test as well

Re:To help AOL he should have fired himself! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537287)

It's the Rovi management style! People are fired or quit during all staff meetings!

He was the Creative Director (5, Interesting)

jebus187 (1629435) | about a year ago | (#44536761)

Was he not supposed to take pictures? He was the creative director; maybe he was just being creative.

Re:He was the Creative Director (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year ago | (#44536865)

Aside from a lot of companies having a 'cameras past this point are grounds for immediate dismissal', there's also a question of securities liabilities, insider trading, and all of that stuff.

Also, he was probably looking for an excuse to be rid of the guy.

Re:He was the Creative Director (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537029)

Abel was taking the picture for the company blog. About a minute earlier in the conference call, Tim said:

"
I don’t care what the press says, I don’t care if people leak information. I’ve already lived through that at AOL [...]

and again:

"
I also want to clear up the fact that leaking information or anything around Patch isn’t going to bother me, doesn’t bother me.

then:

"Put that camera down, Abel. You're fired. Get out."

Every other excuse theory in this thread is shot down from by the facts of the recording.

Re:He was the Creative Director (4, Insightful)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#44537129)

Normal behavior would be to ask the employee to stop the undesirable behavior, then if the behavior persists, disciplinary action could be taken, including termination if other remedies are exhausted. This CEO is an out of control psychopath and a hazard to the company. A lawsuit is inevitable.

Here is a classic example of a career limiting explosion [wikipedia.org]

Re:He was the Creative Director (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44537609)

..not only that but it seems it was expected behavior.

anyways, now he has precedence for firing all sort of reporters they employ for their hyperlocal news. because they used a camera.

Re:He was the Creative Director (1)

PastTense (150947) | about a year ago | (#44537929)

So what do the employees do with their cell phones--which mostly include cameras now?

Re:He was the Creative Director (0, Flamebait)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#44537149)

This is what happens when you work for someone else. You do things they don't like you get fired. It really has nothing to do with management. It has to do with common sense.

I know this is not directly related, but we saw this in the Boston thing. Common sense says when bullets are flying you go the other direction. We had all these people running towards it trying to get photos. Bullets can be fatal even from a mile away.

So you are in a meeting where tension is running high, and you start doing something that common sense tells you is going to antagonize your boss or a c-level executive. Yeah, that is really smart. Someone like that deserves to keep their job. Maybe the nest thing that person is going to do is watch videos while they are driving, because, you know, you have an inherent right to do stuff like that.

Life lesson. If you do something dumb, just let it go. The Streisand effect. Now the entire internet knows how dumb this guy is.

Re:He was the Creative Director (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#44537317)

People in Boston were not necessarily running to get photos. Most were running to help. Despite our pessimism, the world is not completely populated by selfish assholes.

More accurately: (3, Insightful)

Bieeanda (961632) | about a year ago | (#44536781)

Dude left Google to hatch his own scheme.

Dude stayed on after AOL bought his gimmick company.

Dude lashed out because he's still stuck holding the bag.

Not that the guy with the camera was being in any way professional, but if this guy wants to make sports analogies, his scull has split down the keel and he just tossed one of the rowers overboard.

Re:More accurately: (2)

Jack9 (11421) | about a year ago | (#44536839)

> Not that the guy with the camera was being in any way professional

Just because he didn't know how to screen capture? This story has nothing to do with professionalism. It's shocking that a company built on virtual communities has a leader who is so backward.

Re:More accurately: (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537039)

Dude left Google to hatch his own scheme.

Dude stayed on after AOL bought his gimmick company.

Dude lashed out because he's still stuck holding the bag.

Not that the guy with the camera was being in any way professional, but if this guy wants to make sports analogies, his scull has split down the keel and he just tossed one of the rowers overboard.

Actually, he has a history of taking pictures of internal conference calls and posting them on the company Intranet. This wasn't an aberration - it was literally his thing. That he was fired for it puts the CEO in a bad light, not the camera operator.

Re:More accurately: (3, Insightful)

Manfre (631065) | about a year ago | (#44537153)

Ran out of mod points, but your post adds some more insight in to the situation. Firing someone for doing what they normally do is a dick move, unless the camera guy was previously told not to do that.

Re:More accurately: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537691)

Well good thing everyone's an "at will employee". USA USA USA!

Re:More accurately: (3, Insightful)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#44537829)

Firing someone for doing what they normally do is a dick move...

Firing someone in front of the entire company is an utra dick move that arguably puts the company on the wrong side of the law. Don't take my word for it, get some popcorn sit back for the lawsuit. I will go out on a limb here and predict that this asshole's days are numbered as a CEO.

Re:More accurately: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537223)

Not that the guy with the camera was being in any way professional, but if this guy wants to make sports analogies, his scull has split down the keel and he just tossed one of the rowers overboard.

He was their Creative Director. Hellooooooooooooo?

That's ridiculous (4, Interesting)

Voyager529 (1363959) | about a year ago | (#44536783)

1.) you say you're missing leadership, yet you're worried that there's a game plan to give away?
2.) someone takes a picture in the meeting, and you assume it's to upload the game plan to Instagram?
3.) was there a stated rule against taking pictures? If not, you're firing someone for breaking a rule that wasn't stated? If so, is firing the man really the example you want to set for a first offense, instead of requiring that the image be deleted?
4.) you're running a subsidiary of a company whose only asset is its name's association with the 1990's...and your subsidiary is losing money...and you're firing people during a meeting, as if that's going to help matters in the slightest?

Who wants to bet that the next board meeting will involve some chair throwing antics?

Re: That's ridiculous (0)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | about a year ago | (#44536825)

Not at all ridiculous. Openly taking videoclips of a confidential manager meeting at a large corporation is more ridiculous. It is outright idiotic.

I would have fired the guy as well. Albeit probably by taking him outside and sending him home.

Both of them acted stupid. But there is a clear understanding in business that you don't run around taking videoclips of high level meetings. It is simply so self-understood that nobody (usually) needs to have it spelled out to them.

In priority, taking the videoclip like that was more moronic than firing a guy at a meeting. It is just so way out of line it screams "fire me please".

- Jesper

Re: That's ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536857)

> But there is a clear understanding in business that you don't run around taking videoclips of high level meetings

No, there isn't. A video conference (which is what many of them were connected by) can be recorded, usually is, and will likely be by people other than the speaker.

Re: That's ridiculous (2)

tipo159 (1151047) | about a year ago | (#44536949)

Did you even listen to the audio from the meeting? At around 0:50, Mr. Armstrong says "I don't care what the press says. I don't care if people leak information ...". He also says that "if you talk to your friends, family, the media, ...". That doesn't sound to me like he gave the expectation that it was a confidential meeting.

What seems more likely to me is that Armstrong is in over his head and is flailing about.

Re: That's ridiculous (2)

ae1294 (1547521) | about a year ago | (#44537307)

Did you even listen to the audio from the meeting? At around 0:50, Mr. Armstrong says "I don't care what the press says. I don't care if people leak information ...". He also says that "if you talk to your friends, family, the media, ...". That doesn't sound to me like he gave the expectation that it was a confidential meeting.

What seems more likely to me is that Armstrong is in over his head and is flailing about.

Honestly it sounds like the standard 90s coke fueled executive ideal to me. I bet in the next meeting he'll ask where the guy who is suppose to take pictures is and he'll probably tell the CTO to have him fired while the head of HR is standing right next to him... and then someone will say what needs to be siad... so it has come to this....

Re:That's ridiculous (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#44537463)

Who wants to bet that the next board meeting will involve some chair throwing antics?

Hopefully someone takes a picture........

Two idiots in a corp meeting (1, Insightful)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | about a year ago | (#44536795)

Alright so we have two idiots in the same corporate meeting room.

One acted like a d*ck and was taking video clips of a clearly confidential meeting - openly in front of the corporate CEO. The other fired an employee without warning or following a decent process.

Where is the "news" in this? I think the moron making the videoclip was the bigger idiot but none of them really showed their best side that day. As it often happens in corporate meetings.

Move along. Nothing to see here ..

- Jesper

Re:Two idiots in a corp meeting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536851)

"Leaking information about Patch is not going to bother me..." Armstrong obviously realized that with hundreds of people on the con call scattered across the country, both the content and probably the audio were going to leak out anyway.

Re:Two idiots in a corp meeting (2)

Captain Hook (923766) | about a year ago | (#44536939)

One acted like a d*ck and was taking video clips of a clearly confidential meeting

Confidential clearly means something different to you than it does to me. Confidential means you don't pass the information on to people outside the appropriate group (maybe the meeting attendees, maybe the outside the company as a whole, it should be stated clearly who is allowed the information).

Nowhere does confidential mean don't take notes, which is all a photo is.

Re: Two idiots in a corp meeting (0, Redundant)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | about a year ago | (#44536997)

He was snapping pics/videoclips with his smartphone in the middle of a high level management meeting at a vergy large corporation FFS. Have you EVER heard of anyone doing the same? Has anyone else? Please? Anyone? Hello? Anyone?

Ah, I didn't think so.

Perhaps we're not hearing about other high level managers doing this because they got fired ... ;-)

Seriously. Both acted stupidly. But you just don't behave like that when you are on that level of business.

It is rude. It removes attention from the speaker/subject (in this case the CEO himself). It shows you are not taking the meeting seriously. It shows your priorities are seriously wrong - in which case you SHOULD be fired anyway (in a more appropriate way perhaps). Perhaps the proper term is that he "conducted in ways unbecoming a top-level corporate manager". This was not the local YMCA having their Thursday get together. This was a crisis meeting for all senior directors at a multi-billion dollar corporation.

He had it coming. Absolutely. It just should have been done in more subtle and appropriate way.

- Jesper

Re: Two idiots in a corp meeting (2)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#44537195)

Say, you're not a closet pyschopath yourself are you?

Re: Two idiots in a corp meeting (1)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | about a year ago | (#44537737)

No. Alas ;-) I am not psychopathic enough to achieve the level of management involved in this particular mess. I am just an IT grunt on the floor.

And frankly I don't see how believing that both managers are idiots makes me a "psychopath". But hey maybe that's just me :-)

- Jesper

Re: Two idiots in a corp meeting (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#44537893)

You said "he had it coming", where "it" must be understood as humiliation in front of their peers. Saying such a thing kind of outs you.

Re: Two idiots in a corp meeting (1)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | about a year ago | (#44537915)

Actually I meant the getting fired part.

Which should have been done another way. Sure.

Re: Two idiots in a corp meeting (4, Informative)

Ly4 (2353328) | about a year ago | (#44537275)

From http://www.businessinsider.com/leaked-audio-listen-to-aol-ceo-tim-armstrong-fire-a-patch-employee-snapping-a-photo-2013-8 [businessinsider.com] :

We hear that Lenz, based in New York, would always take pictures of people talking on company-wide conference calls so that he could post them on Patch's internal news site.

Re: Two idiots in a corp meeting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537301)

Corporate swine. Go off yourself...

Re: Two idiots in a corp meeting (1)

SplatMan_DK (1035528) | about a year ago | (#44537773)

Hey - Thanks for trolling as AC man. You really make it clear what that designation is meant for ... ;-)

You may have a different opinion on this topic but until you actually have the balls to put your name on your posts it won't carry much weight :-)

- Jesper

Re:Two idiots in a corp meeting (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#44537183)

Where is the "news" in this?

Seriously? Egregious bad acting gets more eyeballs than almost anything. That is about society protecting itself.

Re:Two idiots in a corp meeting (3, Insightful)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about a year ago | (#44537239)

"Move along. Nothing to see here" is even more condescending when its patently false. The whole story, not just that one incident, is one of a company in trouble and its inability to effectively navigate the downward spiral.

So the guy getting fired for taking a picture... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536797)

is named Abel Lenz? Too good.

Re:So the guy getting fired for taking a picture.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536899)

Yea, it's Amber Lamp's BF.

Game plan? (3, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about a year ago | (#44536803)

... "circle the drain" is not a game plan...

Re:Game plan? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#44537581)

It's more like "circle the bowl."

AOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536813)

If I worked for AOL, I would try my best to get fired and move on.

Actually.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536873)

Who's to say the guy didn't do this so he wouldn't be downsized later?

After watching a friend be pressured to VQ after having an arguement with a manager he'd worked with for two years (One of those touchy feel we're all family type crappers), in order to avoid having to pay him unemployment, I could certainly see this as being a better way for said employee to get some cushion time before the next round of layoffs happen, or they turn the job into a shithole in order to try and up their VQ quota to avoid paying, like above.

Re:AOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537215)

No, you'd do your best to get made redundant, take the redundancy payout and then move on. Fired gets you out the door without being owed anything and with a black mark on your recent job history that'll affect you when looking for the next job.

This (3, Interesting)

The Cat (19816) | about a year ago | (#44536815)

This shameless staged plag for AOL and associated media properties brought to you by the dumbasses who believe shameless staged events like this are real.

AOL still around ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536831)

Thought AOL rotted on the vine and blew away years ago. Last time I dealt with them was to help a retired person get rid of an AO account. It wasn't needed, they had cable with internet but believed they had to go to AOL first to sign on. The AOL help line never explained the only thing they were providing for the last several years was another monthly bill on a fixed income retired person's credit card.

Re: AOL still around ? (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44536889)

Aol owns lots of the big brands on the Internet

Re: AOL still around ? (2)

Konster (252488) | about a year ago | (#44536953)

HuffPO, Techcrunch, and Weblogs. Any other big ones?

Re: AOL still around ? (2)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44537087)

engadet. the guys who started the verge used to work for engadget and didn't like what AOL was doing

lots of others, but i don't remember what they are. but i think it was dozens of different brands

So.. (4, Insightful)

bytesex (112972) | about a year ago | (#44536841)

there is no picture of that meeting. It was confidential and shit. But, apparently, audio totally A-ok. Is this a clown-company or something?

Re:So.. (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#44537009)

At least read the headline, it clearly said that it's about AOL.

Re:So.. (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#44537335)

I always assumed that AOL was one of the first companies that started with the trend of removing letters from their name to sound trendy, and the name was pronounced "A-hOLe".

Re:So.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537475)

thank god there are a few people out there who realize 90% of content on the internet is now fake bullshit contrived by some PR firm...

these days i just assume everything on the internet is a marketing scheme unless proven otherwise.

Patch? (2)

Konster (252488) | about a year ago | (#44536905)

I wonder where I've been. I've never heard of Patch until I read it here just a few minutes ago.

Also, the CEO was an unprofessional cock. There were 9000 other, better ways to handle the firing of that employee. This was the wrong way.

What is Patch? (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year ago | (#44536911)

Okay, I can answer that myself [wikipedia.org] after a little Googling. But the larger point is - I'd never heard of this. Maybe they were missing "capital L Leadership", maybe they weren't; but if someone who's actually interested in local news (I subscribe to the local paper) hasn't even heard of your so-called hyper local news organization... You're doing something wrong.

Also - who whips out a camera during a meeting unless it's already established that's what he's supposed to do? At some level, this in-meeting firing doesn't pass the smell test. Could it have been some kind of bizarre pre-arranged theater?

Re:What is Patch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537843)

Also - who whips out a camera during a meeting unless it's already established that's what he's supposed to do?

From http://www.businessinsider.com/leaked-audio-listen-to-aol-ceo-tim-armstrong-fire-a-patch-employee-snapping-a-photo-2013-8 [businessinsider.com] :

We hear that Lenz, based in New York, would always take pictures of people talking on company-wide conference calls so that he could post them on Patch's internal news site.

But.. but... Armstrong got his MBA from ... (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#44536921)

He got his MBA from Donald Trump himself, and the course work consisted of watching the reruns of Apprentice.

Patch is already dead (5, Informative)

linuxwrangler (582055) | about a year ago | (#44536955)

They killed it months ago. Now they are just dragging the corpse through the streets instead of giving it a proper burial.

Last year there was an actual reporter posting actual news relevant to and about our town. Readers posted comments - sometimes hundreds on a single article. There were lively discussions about school issues, traffic safety and other local issues with generally one to three new articles every day.

Then they announced "exciting upgrades." The look and feel of the site went from OK to awful. Our local reporter has been "reassigned to a regional area." The local news is an irregularly updated mish-mash of cut 'n' paste police blotter info posted well after it has already been available on Nixle, reposts from other news sources (and not very local), and "reporting" consisting of things like a brief listing of the city-council agenda followed by an "article" saying "Were you at the meeting? What are your comments?" And still they sometimes can't get any news posted for days. Really?

They have added lots of "sponsored" Patch localities advertising Planes, Smurfs and the like.

The "local" reporters are now, if you look at their profiles, all over the country and making errors in articles that just make them look like idiots to anyone actually living here. Reviews and articles about places that closed a year or two ago do not make for credibility.

Much of the supposedly local news is just repackaged national stats. "How is unemployment in YourLocalTown compared to the rest of the country?" and the like. Other stuff is somewhat local looking blog stuff that turns out to be identical on all the sites.

It's sad. The site used to be fun and interesting. Too bad they couldn't make it a successful business.

Re:Patch is already dead (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#44537343)

They killed it months ago. Now they are just dragging the corpse through the streets instead of giving it a proper burial.

obligatory Monty Python [youtube.com] .

Re:Patch is already dead (4, Insightful)

dtobias (262347) | about a year ago | (#44537529)

Whenever any website announces an "exciting upgrade", it usually means they're in the process of screwing up whatever was good about the site before, in favor of whatever their pointy-haired bosses think will make a better business model.

Patch for NYC sucks (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#44536967)

don't know about everywhere else, but the NYC edition sucks. Gothamist, dnainfo and some of the local blogs are a lot better. AOL and this google genius should have bought them out or just put Patch under Huffington Post when AOL bought them

Leadership, and cultivating leadership (3, Informative)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | about a year ago | (#44536987)

Even the most primitive form of leadership starts with setting an example. An example of self-control makes the leadership more functional.

A more advanced form is setting clear expectations and communicating them, for example by having a "no photos" rule. One person I read about enjoyed Marine boot camp because unlike his family, the rules were the same from one day to the next.

Then comes raising new leaders, which is done by mentoring and assigning increasing responsibility. Intimidation creates followers, not leaders.

If this incident is typical then as a leader I consider him a total loss with no insurance.

One less person bailing out the Titanic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44536989)

It's going down at a slightly faster rate now.

Game Plan (4, Insightful)

dnaumov (453672) | about a year ago | (#44536991)

AOL couldn't afford to have people 'giving the game plan away

This is amazing on so many levels. First of all, Abel was taking pictures for the company intranet blog. Like he did on the previous meeting and the meeting before that.
Second: does Armstrong genuinely think there are people out there, outside of AOL, who actually give a shit what their "game plan" *IS*?

AOL? (2)

gph1972 (2009588) | about a year ago | (#44537077)

I am surprised that this company has survived this long.

A no name executive runs a death spiral company. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537155)

Honestly this guy is a joke, he is no longer at google because he was about to get the boot himself. In order to try and look tough he stages some theater in a meeting.

AOL has been dying for a while now and keeps dying, this "patch" 90% of the planet does not care about nor has ever heard about it. All he is going to do is make the ride down as profitable for himself as possible.

AOL? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537299)

What is AOL?

Patch was good and bad (3, Informative)

istartedi (132515) | about a year ago | (#44537327)

The good in Patch was that it put a few extra bucks in the pockets of somebody I know. It really was local, and seemed to be building genuine community. The bad was their e-mail alerts that were not timely or meaningful. I eventually turned them off. Alas, the web site itself just wasn't interesting enough to pull me in on a daily basis. I'm not sure why. The free dead-tree local papers continue to be my source for "the skinny" on stuff that's too local for the biggies (e.g., the bowling alley and the strip club being demolished to make way for condos, that kind of story).

Laughable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537593)

I think he was trying for a different capital L.

eh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537715)

I don't get why this is even newsworthy, people are fired for stupid shit everyday. I will say this, he has balls that clank to be doing that in a corporate meeting.

So... (2)

letherial (1302031) | about a year ago | (#44537793)

The CEO, AKA the leader, tells all management that its missing leadership with a capital L. Im sure he showed real leadership impulsively firing someone in-front of everyone else. O ya, id follow that guy... no where

As with most CEO's his ego is bigger then his brain................alot bigger.

Asshole in failing company is an asshole. (1)

nemui-chan (550759) | about a year ago | (#44537835)

This is news how?

Stanford and destruction of the English language (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537913)

WTF! Stop destroying the English language!!!!

http://www.englishforums.com/English/PluralSubjectAllowed/ndgb/post.htm

Armstrong is the definition of poor Leadership (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537923)

Firing someone during a meeting in front of everyone is not only unprofessional, but is in most cases illegal, as it creates an openly hostile work environment for everyone else. I hope Abel has the sense to hire an employment attorney and sue the pants off of Armstrong and end up owning what's left of Patch.

Ah, the benefits of living in a civlised society (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44537951)

Such as, laws which prevent your boss being to able to act a medieval king, firing people to 'make a point', a passing whim or simply for shits and giggles.

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