Monday, February 18, 2008

What We All Should Learn From AOL

An Example of Accepting 'Status Quo'

As I have mentioned a few times, I abhor hearing the words 'status quo' or 'nothing is changing" when speaking with business men and women and even more-so when my clients utter these words. These are the people who are not driving their businesses forward and in the end will not reach their full potential.

I was reading this article about the passing of an era, and that era is AOL. I remember the day I created my first screen name. I was so excited. I set it up on my dad's laptop and was new to the internet. I had no idea what world awaited my finger-tips. The ease of use of AOL was amazing, even a 7th grader could understand it. To this day I still have that screenname. Too bad AOL did not know what it hand at its own finger tips..

AOL was great for dial-up. The internet was still young. There were not many internet heavy applications for both residential and commercial users. However, recently,

The company's revenues fell 33 percent to $5.2 billion from $7.8 billion a year ago, Time Warner said yesterday. The company attributed the loss to a 52 percent drop in revenues from dial-up subscriptions. AOL, which once boasted more than 20 million subscribers, lost 3.8 million subscribers last year and now has 9.3 million in the United States.

However, there have been increases in ad revenue, an 18% increase, but as internet ads themselves begin to require more bandwith, 56k users are only going to continue to suffer and be in decline.

Of course, the individuals who simply check email and nothing more on the internet do not really care, but as shopping/customer service/everything under the sun migrates to the internet, 56k users are going to need to realize, they need more bandwidth.

Hopefully, you've noticed already I've mentioned 56k users twice already because that is what AOL has given its name to.

They are hand-in-hand. If someone says, "AOL" and "High Speed" in the same
sentence, people chuckle and think you are joking.
Yes, AOL does offer broadband, but their image is fixed, in my opinion as a dial-up / low end ISP.

Now, if AOL wants to the dial-up market leader, then by all means, go-ahead, but how is that going to work down the road? Like I alluded to earlier, bandwidth needs are only increasing. "There are people who probably will want something less than a $42 cable bill to get e-mail," but he noted it's "not a market they want to be in."

All I am really trying to say here is that your business is never fully sound unless you are continually progressing forward. AOL struck gold, got too comfortable, and then soon began to decline...

Nothing much else to say, I'm still recovering from my first bike race of the season. It was tough!


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