Some folks say I’m out of line by talking about our problems. I point them to this post, by a hard working developer at AOL:
Jason takes care not to disparage the talented engineers that work on our products. I bet if you ask him, he’ll tell you that he respects them all a great deal. But, our products are a different story. He takes an objective look at the products, focuses on a metric that’s measurable (i.e., placement of first organic search result, memory footprint of Triton), and then asks for change and improvement. How many times have you had your management make vague and overarching edicts like “make it better” without any clue what “better” is? Jason at least gives feedback where improvements are straight-forward to evaluate and measure. That’s golden, in my book.
This AOLer, who I don’t think I’ve met yet, is taken back by blunt posts:
This isn’t my first discussion about Jason and his blog. I use him as an example with others that execs can blog…and maybe should. However I often times get replies back about Jason like “He works for us?”, and “I wonder if Ted (Leonsis) has yelled at him yet?”. I dunno but I certainly would like to know more about WHY he post the way he does…
For the record, I don’t think it’s in Ted’s nature to yell, and if he did I think he would say “Rock on dude!!!!”
Shawn continues: Now I’m not going to personally jump the chain of command here to IM/E-mail Jason however maybe these things should be handled in house.
Chain of command?!?! You can comment on my blog any time and you can IM or call me any time! You can come to any of my open office hours and I welcome any debate that makes our products better.
In terms of AIM I have talked to folks and I understand exactly why AIM is so fat and crashes my machine. I know they are working on it, and I’m hosting the public discussion of making that product better.
In terms of search I’ve had many (many, MANY) discussions with the search team about why our search is so bad. It is gonna get better, and when it does I will be the first one running up the hill with the flag. However, I’m not willing to send our people up that hill to be shot–so to speak.
As Dossy says. AOL was just named the WORST TECH PRODUCT OF ALL TIME. A totally unfair label for the brand that brought 75M+ people onto the Internet, but that is what we’re up against. Now is the time for open discourse and investment in our products.