back to article 'Abel, you're fired!' Hear AOL supremo axe exec during conference call

AOL boss Tim Armstrong appears to have axed a senior exec on the spot for pointing a camera at him during a conference call with about 1,000 Patch website staff. While in the middle of threatening the troubled hyperlocal news network with redundancies, Armstrong suddenly turned to Patch's creative director Abel Lenz and let …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Ramazan

    Obvious conclusion that everyone is able to make is that the said Armstrong is a мудак

    1. Psyx

      Obvious conclusion is that Internet-Industry top brass -despite what they keep telling us - doesn't like having their privacy intruded on by cameras, just like the rest of us.

      Would have been even more ironic had it been a Google Glasshole.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The reports (not here) mention that Armstrong has stated previously that taking photos of him during events is not an issue. Therefore, your theory holds as much water as Armstrong's temper.

        What is going on, then? Maybe

        www.businessinsider dot com/why-tim-armstrong-fired-abel-lenz-2013-8

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The obvious conclusion, if you are on the Patch team, is to jump ship en mass while you still have the chance, before Armstrong shoots the boat out from underneath your very feet.

      If you want to continue working underneath that kind of individual, IMHO, you deserve whatever you get.

  2. Russ Tarbox

    The audio is around 1.50

    For those of you that don't want to hear the word "patch" 500 times.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The audio is around 1.50

      Or just the relevant part here:

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        Re: The audio is around 1.50

        This video is not available in your country.

  3. Rampant Spaniel

    Hmmm publicity stunt? I honestly hadn't heard of patch before, I wonder how much extra attention they are getting on the back of this? Too cynical?

    1. Tom Wood

      I wasn't even really aware that AOL was still going.

      1. Spoonsinger

        Re : "I wasn't even really aware that AOL was still going."

        Ahh!, well you have a proper job like. Us random contract free form self employed plebs are still picking up the pieces on support type stuff from AOL's 90's marketing drive - you know cup coasters and all. (Mind it passes the time, and sometimes we do get a proper coding gig that pays well - sometimes, but mostly at night).

      2. Thomas 4

        AOL is still alive

        They're just going through a rough patch.

  4. Anonymous IV

    Lenz and his lens

    This seems to be a rather suspicious patch connection.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Having seemingly dismissed Lenz, the AOL chief exec paused, added that he was committed to Patch, and said his company had spent hundreds of millions of dollars on it."

    Well, that must have reassured everyone.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Say what you want about the EU...

    but its nice to have employment law that prevents this sort of thing happening here.

    If they did try to fire you like this you would make a fortune at the unfair dismissal tribunal.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      You are being patched!

      Which is just being stupid, drives up the cost of business and lengthens the dole queue. Or gives you "outsourcing" or "repetitive temp workers". Which the people who bemoan "unfair dismissals" then moan about.

      It also means that the bureaucracy takes it upon itself to micromanage others' decisions. Certainly a formula for success.

      1. Captain Underpants

        Re: You are being patched!

        @Destroy All Monsters

        Yeah, I can totally see how at-will employment (ie no notice) is much better for everyone and definitely doesn't lead to total bollockery like employees refusing to document their work or job procedures in an effort to use obscurity as defence against being sacked.

        Oh, wait...

        Problems can happen in any environment, but good management (ie an effective regular performance evaluation mechanism, coupled to procedures - agreed to in a contract by both sides, natch- that provide effective mechanisms for either side to have problems raised and addressed) combined with some basic employee rights to not be randomly fucked over at no notice (and obligation to not attempt to fuck off at no notice if another more tempting offer should appear) tends to lead to more stability. Which, surprisingly, helps businesses stop worrying about people fucking off and get on with actually doing whatever they do to earn money...

      2. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: You are being patched!

        Completely agree. Sadly, once dismissed, these lame-duck employees make their way back into the workforce to drag down another company.

        CEOs should be given the right to conduct summary executions at will, and incentivise poor performers with proven motivational tools such as water-boarding and the rack. Good performers should be rewarded with the occasional chunk of raw fish, but also be subjected to random electroshock therapy, and batteries of drug, intelligence, and emotional tests - this will avoid the onset of complacency.

        Human Resources should live up to their name and know exactly how many calories each employee is worth, should the staff protein intake require supplementing.

    2. MrXavia

      Re: Say what you want about the EU...

      Completely agree, the EU may have its flaws, but it does also have its good points, although in reality the UK is good on its own when it comes to employment laws.

      1. ThomH

        Re: Say what you want about the EU... (@MrXavia)

        On the contrary, quite a lot of the fundamental employment legislation — e.g. the Equal Pay Act 1970 — was brought in only either to meet EU obligations or to bring UK law into line with European expectations with an eye towards future membership.

        The way EU law works in the UK is that it has to be explicitly enacted by our parliament. They have an accelerated process for a lot of the piecemeal regulations but whenever something big comes along they often write a full-blown domestic bill for it.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Say what you want about the EU...

        Uh huh.

        The EU and UK have "at will" employment. They just dress it all up as "contracting" to keep everyone happy.

        People who work on BT lines for Openreach, who are not salaried BT staff should take note.

  7. banjomike

    AOL is still A$$holes OnLine

    Nothing much changes in the butt of the Internet.

  8. IGnatius T Foobar


    This just in: CEO of a completely failing has-been company is an asshole, talks about how awesome it is that he likes to fire people, and then fires people.

    Seriously, he's doing Abel a favor by cutting him loose from a ship that isn't just sinking, it's already underwater but the people on board are still holding their breath. Doesn't mean they're not going to drown in the next 60 seconds.

  9. Arctic fox
    Thumb Down

    "Interesting is it not to note such examples of bosses..............

    ...................who confirm the widespread suspicion that sociopaths appear to have no problem climbing the greasy pole of promotion. Modern capitalism - don't you just love it? For what it is worth I don't think even his mother could love him.

  10. Why Not?

    This cost hundreds of millions???

    Blimey where do I sign up as an AOL supplier/imagineer?

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      That would explain why I've never heard if it... it's a US only "social" site that's largely redundant already and even my give-a-care knowledge of US states, seems to be missing a few from their home page "Browse by state" list.

      This is aside from a long practiced intentional blindness to anything with "AOL" anywhere near it. :)

  11. Miek

    In the UK, this is called "Unfair dismissal".

    1. ThomH

      It'd be wrongful too, given that we give employees a right to notice. So it wouldn't happen in the UK for at least two reasons.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Sorry, but that was lame.

    There have been more severe conference room firings than that at many corps over the years.

    The guy didn't even raise his voice or swear.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ever since their glory days of shipping CD's filled with 'malware'...

    I've been asking myself, how ever did this shower survive? I got called to rescue more than a few friend's computers from AOL's PC zapping popup ad launching crapware! So MySpace collapsed, but AOL survived, go figure. They had no ability for lock-in, so why didn't everyone jump ship?

  14. herbturbo

    Even without the firing part, was any of that intended to motivate Patch staff to work harder or get behind the product? Hopefully they are all looking for other jobs and running Patch into the ground for AOL and Armstrong in the meantime.

  15. paulf Silver badge


    Would it be malevolent to suggest that if he was fired on the spot for taking a picture* he ought to have switched his camera into Paparazzi mode and taken lots more pictures of his increasingly angry former boss until the security droids showed up?**

    *I seem to recall the "AOL Supremo" saying he didn't really care if any of the information was leaked so why the tantrum at a photo?

    **That assumes he's in a position where this blemish on his CV wouldn't hamper his finding onward employment.

  16. Fihart

    Look at Patch and you'll see the problem.

    Patch attempts to create "local" news sites with attendant advertising.

    The flaw in the business model is that successful local sites grow from the grassroots, rather than being parachuted in from a large corporation headquartered elsewhere.

    Just looking at one of them (and there may be better ones) I could almost hear the tumbleweeds bowling through.

    The desperate tone of the CEO is evident in the clip, and no wonder !

  17. asdf Silver badge

    this is BS

    Everyone should boycott AOL and take their business to Prodigy or CompuServ (bought by AOL, doh) instead. Or considering this is 2013 and not 1995 just continue doing what you were doing and you are probably already effectively boycotting AOL.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: this is BS

      Those on the east side of the Atlantic should avoid AOL because it's a brandname belonging to TalkTalk.

  18. Yet Another Commentard


    "is instead a teacher at Miami Ad School."

    There's a school for advertisers?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wait...

      ...that nobody had heard about. How's that for irony?

  19. John 104 Silver badge

    this is BS

    OMG! I had totally forgotten about Prodigy and ComuServ. Earthlink, netZero, others?

    Here is a good laugh.

  20. keithpeter

    AOL job security?

    "At the time that I was starting to contribute, there were big changes happening in Mozilla-land, most notably AOL laying off basically all of its Netscape engineers." --Blake Kaplan

    By amazing synchronicity, I have just been reading about changes to Firefox's html rendering engine. AOL seem to have been firing people for decades.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AOL - Short for ArsehOLes

    Anyway, I thought they died years ago....

  22. Marcus Bointon

    I think I'd be pretty grumpy if I'd spent hundreds of millions and ended up with something like

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020