Why aren’t you at lunch???
AOL. American Online.
Remember them? Remember when you’d get those annoying free trial disks in the mail every week? 2 Free hours! 5 Free hours! 10 Free hours! New! Version 7.0! It even became trendy to think of new and interesting ways to use or destroy those things.
For a while, in the early 90s, they were an up-and-coming ISP competing with the likes of Prodigy and CompuServe to bring the Internet to homes via the telephone jack.
Everyone unfortunate enough not to know how to disable their modem’s onboard speaker knows exactly what it sounded like dialing into AOL. The static, the buzzing, the hissing. All while you stared intently at the three familiar tiles on the screen–a sort of progress bar that vaguely told you what was going on as you tried to sign in.
Suddenly, there would be silence. That’s when you knew you were either connected to AOL or were forsaken by the dial-up gods and got dropped.
For many people who knew nothing of the Internet and the WWW, AOL was the Internet. These people lived their online lives bound by the stark windows of AOL’s early interface, and then later by toolbars cluttered with useless buttons. They searched for content via “keywords” and conversed with other AOL users in chatrooms.
It was only after you made it outside of AOL that you realized the Web had a lot more to offer, and that AOL was way too slow to keep up with your newfound addiction to consume every piece of information you could lay your cursor on.
Ok, hold up, now…
You know, this was going to be something of a retrospective piece with some sarcasm and wry humor sprinkled here and there but I’m just a tad spiteful when it comes to AO-Hell (as many of us liked to call them, back in the day).
What is the reason for my angst? Netscape.
If you can recall, Netscape was acquired by AOL. AOL seemed invested in Netscape Communicator (the browser which would then just be called Netscape), but I, for one, realized that the acquisition spelled the beginning of the end for one of history’s most beloved web browsers. Sure, there might have been a few releases but the quality of the product consistently suffered either due to bad design or lacking features that made it trail behind other browsers.
What really drives me nuts, however, is that after Netscape was acquired, AOL went and renewed their license with Microsoft to continue to use IE as the built-in AOL browser. What is wrong with people? AOL had the best contender against IE–what happened, did they just forget about it? Actually, they didn’t. AOL fired the Netscape engineers and disbanded their resources.
So Netscape was ultimately discontinued and now it’s nothing more than a brand name that AOL is still all-too-happy to abuse for profits (see netscape.aol.com which I won’t even hyperlink because that’s how upset I am about it all).
Simple concept, right? If this idea so darn easy to rationalize then why are there employee management paradigms that assume the same incentives and penalties will work for everyone in the organization (much less in the same department)?
I mean, it’s nice that people get bonuses or are otherwise rewarded for doing good work, but to believe that you can improve Jane’s performance by applying the same motivation plan that works for the office star, let’s say Margaret, sounds inane to me.
Everyone is different. They are motivated via different means, they have different goals, they live different lives and are proficient in different areas.
Not everyone is an extrovert; making them unlikely to assume leading roles and excel in ways they might be expected to. In that sense, doesn’t it seem a little unfair to judge these people based on their leadership qualities if they just weren’t built for that?
By the same token, an extrovert’s ability to communicate with people and collaborate would be wasted if they were relegated to a cubicle and expected to do busy-work which they won’t enjoy and will show in the quality of their work as well as be reflected in their subsequent performance review.
I’m sorry if this doesn’t sound like the PC thing to believe, but people have different strengths and trying to make someone fit a role they are not comfortable with or unwilling to take on is just wrong. I’m not just talking about being morally wrong, but business-wise: it’s wrong! You’re not using your assets efficiently if you’re not utilizing them in areas where their strengths can really come into play.
It’s like putting square wheels on your car thinking they’ll turn into round wheels out of necessity. The truth is those wheels will eventually be round but only after a long time and a lot of friction.
Hello, party people!
Yes, I realize it’s been ages since I last posted on MMWasp, but I assure you there is a very good reason I’ve been scarce… and as soon as I think of it I will let you know.
Anyway, that’s not important, now, is it? What’s important is that I’m back with all of you beautiful, expressive individuals out there in WordPressland! Believe me when I say I’ve missed every darn one of you.
Sometimes I wish blogging were even easier than it is now. Hopefully technology will get to the point where all I’ll have to do is think about something and I’ll get a contextual popup asking me if I want to share my last thought on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, etc.
It’s not that I’m terribly lazy to sit down and type it all out (I like to think I’m only as lazy as the average American), but lately I feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to get things done.
Why, just the other day as I was trying to come up with plans with some friends I thought to myself, “well, it’d be nice to catch a movie, but do I really want to just sit around for an hour and a half? I wish there was a way I could watch a full length movie in half the time.”
Now, I love movies. I love watching movies, collecting movies, talking about movies (in a non-movie-snob way), so if I’m wishing movies didn’t take so long then something is definitely up.
Maybe I should go on holiday…
Don’t worry, I won’t disappear for another 3 weeks without keeping in touch. I’d definitely blog if I took a vacation. I’d probably feel much more inclined to do so, as a matter of fact.
In the meantime, I will try to find that elusive middle-ground I keep hearing so much about that’s supposed to improve the quality of my life.
If I find it, I’ll send you a postcard 🙂