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Wanting AOL to be the greatest company in America, Steve Case was serious about business. So what went wrong?
The AOL Time Warner debacle should come as no surprise to those who understand the nature of Divine principles. Gravity is a principle most people understand. You can jump off a 100 story building and for the first 99 floors really enjoy the ride and even tell others on the way down about how much fun it is, how fast you’re traveling, even how safe the whole process is. But the ground floor is coming up and when it does, the ride is over and all those who believed your foolishness and followed blindly are about to experience a disastrous fate. We didn’t invent gravity and might not like it at times. We might try to defy gravity and perhaps, at least for a while, seem to get away with it, but there’s always a day of reckoning. Analogous is the nature of Divine principles.
The fathers of Christendom certainly understood the principle of sowing and reaping and knew that when you sow to the flesh, you reap corruption. Now let’s take a closer look at AOL. The sheer volume of pornographic messages that come through their various services is nothing short of appalling and certainly qualifies as “sowing to the flesh.”
What kind of company provides a superhighway used extensively by pornographers and instead of doing everything in their power to limit access to those who make their living purveying the illicit desires of the flesh, even exploiting children, they welcome them and then offer parental controls allegedly to curtail them? Does anyone at AOL have the testosterone to take a stand against pornography and shut down pornographers’ access to the AOL customers or do they only have enough to spend their strength in support of their foul, polluting content?
Companies that “sow to the flesh” will inevitably reap corruption as surely as gravity introduces all jumpers to the ground floor. If you look closely at the earnings reports by AOL, they were meeting their estimates and impressing investors as they sailed past the 50th floor on the way down to the ground. The fly in the ointment was that corruption thing that always follows “sowing to the flesh.” In order to meet quarterly estimates, AOL “improperly booked” (translate: falsified to deceive investors) $190 million worth of ad revenues.
Let’s see how a strategy guided by corruption, supportive of the illicit and masked by deception plays out. Combined share values have dropped by over $100 billion according to NBC Nightly News. Ad revenues have fallen from $2.5 billion in 2000 to $800 million in 2002. And they haven’t even reached the ground floor. Will they abandon the brazen, misplaced strategies of the past before it’s too late? The world is starting to see how far they’ve fallen, but they still have a way to go. Can they see the error of their ways and deploy a parachute of ethics and decency before reaching the ground? We’ll see. In the meantime, I recommend investors find another ride.
Michael Q. Pink is a best selling author, speaker, and creator of “Selling Among Wolves-Without Joining The Pack!” training programs, is founder of the Strategic Resource Institute, providing biblical solutions for maximizing the impact of sales and marketing strategies. For information on free seminars in your area, call (941) 377-9384 or visit www.SellingAmongWolves.com.