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back to article AOL boss: Soz about that 'Abel, you're fired!' Patch showdown

AOL boss Tim Armstrong has apologised for publicly humiliating the ailing company's former hyperlocal network creative director, after he sacked the exec during a tense conference call with employees about the fate of local news platform Patch. The whole exchange was recorded, presumably by another disgruntled member of staff, …

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So.. what happened to the person who was recording Abel recording the confidential meeting in order to leak the recording?

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Even more importantly - was there a person recording the person who was recording Abel? Enquiring minds need to know.

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you mean the leak of the persn being fired for recording the boss saying he didn't mind leaks ;-) I have never known anyone dumb enough to not believe that any meeting \ conference call etc involving more than 30 or so people was being recorded. You have a company wide meeting, you expect it to be recorded by someone for a variety of reasons. Firing an exec for using a camera whilst you state you don't care about leaks during a call that will obviously be recorded by many people makes you an absolute douche. No mention of what kind of camera? Video or stills, was the guy just capturing an important moment in the companies history?

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I think it was more the point of he'd warned that particular employee not to film before. If your boss explicitly tells you not to do something and then you do it again, you should be fired.

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Yeah, completely missing the point that the boss is saying he doesn't care about leaks. So during a speach that is supposed to motivate, reassure, educate etc the staff he basically tells them that anything he says isn't worth a damn.

He has been told not to film confidential meetings, a conference of the entire company is a grey area there (being fair). Whilst it should remain confidential if requested there is zero chance of that happening, as shown by the audio recording of the actual incident. I still think this was an ill thought out pr stunt that blew up in their faces.

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Yeah, completely missing the piont there. There's a difference between "I don't care about leaks" and "I will let them happen"

If a product leaks, it leaks. There's nothing to be done about it once it's out so accepting them is the best policy, otherwise you're just wasting your time and money as well as making yourself look silly. Allowing leaks to happen however is a different story. Acceping something will happen and allowing it to happen are two totally different things.

As a further note this is a transcript I found for the section about leaks

I don’t care what the press says, I don’t care if people leak information. I’ve already lived through that at AOL — when I took over AOL — so if you need somebody to blame for why we’re making changes at Patch you can blame me. I take full responsibility.

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If he doesn't care about them why would he try and stop them. He didn't say he only cared about them before they happened. He said "I don't care if people leak information", then sacked someone for potentially doing it. What he said simply does not reflect your interpretation.

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There is a difference between not caring after the fact, and being complacent in letting the act take place.

Here's a better example. A real life example. My sister had her bike stolen. She called the police and they didn't care. A bike isn't high up on their radar and internally they don't care about one being stolen when they have car thefts, burglery, rape, and immediate crimes to take care of. Why don't they care about a bike? How will they identify it? A bike is a bike is a bike. A blue Ford Fiesta with the registration J876 SSX is possible to find and return. But if you steal a bike in front of a police officer they will arrest you.

As such the minimum effort will go into returning a stolen bike because it's not possible. When information is leaked, they can't unleak it, it's not possible so they don't care. It doesn't mean however that they will let it leak.

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One might suggest

That if Patch had enough senior staff to waste their time videoing internal meetings there is lots of fat to be cut.....

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Facepalm

Re: One might suggest

My shop records every single meeting in the main meeting rooms, especially ones where the information being discussed would be of interest to all staff. The vids are then put up on the company intranet for those that were not able to be there, sickness, holiday, the classic "for training purposes" or whatever.

They don't just do it to waste time or be flash, almost every meeting I go even as a shop-floor techie have minutes and agendas so there's no come back if Fred decides to dispute the fact that he agreed to do XYZ, video is just another extension of that.

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Re: video is just another extension of that.

Let me fix that for you:

video is can be just another extension of that.

IF your company establishes policies that way yes, it can be. It can also be a colossal waste of time and resources if the company doesn't have established policies for handling it. Given the existence of a prior warning, AOL obviously had policies against. It might be naive and/or foolish, but it was company policy and employees, especially upper echelon types are expected to know and follow those policies.

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No such thing as bad publicity?

I mean, who knew AOL still existed?

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Re: No such thing as bad publicity?

tl;dr: "I'm still a dick, but I don't want you to think I'm a dick".

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: No such thing as bad publicity?

@Code Monkey

See Icon->

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No such thing as bad publicity?

Won't do them much good unless there's a sudden need again for dial-up Internet, which is pretty much what most people associate them with.

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Bod

Re: No such thing as bad publicity?

I thought they died when they stopped filling my bin with CDs

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Re: No such thing as bad publicity?

I miss those free coasters :(

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One wonders whether the apology would still have been forthcoming had someone else not been recording and thus making the incident public news.

It's all irrelevant anyway, it's not like their morale could get any worse as they're already facing a flip-a-coin round of layoffs.

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Pint

It really seems to be a "Beatings will continue until morale improves" kind of place. I'll bet their printers are working overtime, churning out everyone's freshly updated Resumes.

"Why did you leave your old company?"

"Because the boss was an epic c0ck, and here's a YouTube link proving it."

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Anonymous Coward

GotoMeeting*

Certainly one of the main drivers for my organisation (multiple operating companies, geographically diverse) buying into GotoMeeting was to record conference calls. Invaluable for minutes, but useful to jog peoples memories on the odd occasion.

*Other conferencing tools may be available.

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Management style

The sackings will continue until employee morale improves.

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Sounds legit to me

Warning was given, sacking was given, apologies were given...

Meet you at the usual bar tonight, guys? We shall have a few drinks...

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