AOL Trying To Recapture Its Startup Culture

Posted Jul 20, 2009

Tim Armstrong, AOL’s new CEO, wants AOL to feel like a startup again. He was hired to help spin off the struggling Internet giant as an independent company. AOL has over 7,000 employees. So how does he plan to make it feel like a startup?

Well, for starters, he wants to cut down on advertising – at a company that runs on advertising. He says that cutting down on advertising will help the company regain “flavor.”

“I think AOL’s return to higher prominence in terms of being an Internet leader is purely dependent on the work that we do here,” Armstrong said to the AP.

He wants pages to load faster. He wants AOL properties to seem less cluttered. He also wants to transform AOL into a technology innovator. He turned Tuesdays into “Product Meeting Days.” On Tuesdays, teams behind AOL properties discuss and share ideas with executives. That way, rank-and-file employees can share their ideas.

The executive team at AOL want employees to feel like they have some control over the company’s destiny.

AOL properties saw a combined average of 107 million unique U.S visitors each month this quarter. So AOL does have the traffic to innovate. Now they just need the mindset.