AOL was a roller coaster ride. I was lucky and privileged to be a part of it, both the ups and the downs.
I've always said that if you can get the best people who are good at what they do, but more importantly are passionate about what they do, you'll succeed.
When you invest in high-quality brands, it pays off with high-quality audiences and, ultimately, high-quality advertising rates.
I think it's even more important to have quality in this era of Web media than it has ever been. The fusion of platform technology plus talent is what the next wave is all about, and that's where Vox Media is positioned.
When I was at AOL, I was always on the web media side while much of the company was focused on the ISP business. We focused on big categories like celebrities and sports, and we created brands around that category like AOL Celebrities, AOL Movies and Fanhouse.
I would imagine that if you had a media brand that is solely focused on publishing 5,000-word stories with beautiful proprietary photographs and highly-produced videos, it would be a tough thing to make that economically sustainable.
When you're talking about capital and financial things, which I certainly pay a lot of attention to, I base those decisions on one question that I typically ask myself, which is 'Does it help us to build a better company?'
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