A catch phrase will go here soon.

AOL Open Office Hours (in Dulles next Friday): Let's talk product!

4/21/2006

Update: Wow, that was fast… we’ve got ~15 peoplesigned up below and I have another ten folks who IMed me that theyare gonna come. This is gonna be great just for theeducation/sharing aspect of it–let alone the brainstorming!
Update2: There is *no* truth to the “no one overVP” rule. We *will* let in VP and above, but they have to promiseto listen. :-)

Team AOL,

I’m going to be in Dulles next Friday, April 28th and I wanted toinvite *anyone* at AOL to come to a completely open discussion ofwhere we should take *our* company. There are a lot of folks Ihaven’t had a chance to meet and I thought this might be a good wayto reach out to everyone.

The rules:
- Everyone is invited
- Everyone has an equal voice
- Your title and tenure means nothing–ideas rule
- Honest and transparent discussions only–no politicsplease!
- No subjects are off the table, but let’s try and focus the threehours on *product* discussions
- Anyone can present their idea for at least five or 10 minutes(demo or die!)

Who should come:
- Any AOL employee who cares about where we are taking thecompany.
- People with an open mind.

Who shouldn’t come:
- Anyone who wants to complain about the past.
- Folks with a specific issue outside of our products (i.e. an HRissue,organizational issues, why don’t you have a new MacBook proand two 24″ monitors, etc).

What should we talk about? Well, you tell me! Here are somequick ideas/topics:
- Anything related to growing our business and making AOL a betterplace to work.
- Anyone have ideas for new blogs or editorial products?
- Where will we find the next “Live8?” (so to speak)
- How can we better integrate our products?
- How can we speed up our development cycle?
- What new features should we add to our existing products?
- Anyone got ideas for new businesses?!?
- Anyone have constructive criticism of our current products? (Ido! I have lots of them!)
- What company would you most like to see us partner with/acquireand why?

What will come of this?
I have no idea, but I’m looking forward to finding out!

- The worst case scenario is no one cares and I’ll be left sittingin a room drinking coffee and eating too many donuts while checkingmy email.
- The best case is that we have a room packed full of smart,passionate people who come up with some great ideas that I can take”upstairs” and get them greenlit.
(Actually, the really worst case scenario is that your boss bansyou from coming to this event … if that happens send me a secretemail to jason at calacanis dot com–cause that ain’tright!).

Location/Time:
AOL Open Office Hours will take place in conference room12D:J10 in building CC1 on Friday, April 28th. The room seats 20and has video. I’ll be there at 9AM…

How do I RSVP:
If you want to come pleaseput your name in the comments below. If we get over 20 folks we’regonna need a bigger boat.

Comments/Ideas/Suggestions?
Post them in thecomments below!

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English Bulldog

Hello, my name is Jason. Welcome to my blog on the interwebs. You can reach me on twitter @jason and by email at jason@inside.com. My Skype is jasoncalacanis, and my mobile phone is 310-456-4900.

I only pick up numbers I recognize, and in terms of emailing me, the best strategy is to write short, blunt and to the point requests. I can quickly respond to short messages, and many times I simply don't have the time to read five page pitches. In terms of taking meetings, I only do that after reviewing an actual product (not a business plan). So, the best time to ping me is when you have mockups or an alpha site. I don't read business plans, and I've never written one.

Other twitter accounts you can follow: Inside.com, Ticker, This Week in Startups and LAUNCH Festival

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