Keep your eye on the vision at the end of the tunnel,
or else the “tunnel vision” of the ROI types will kill it. Can this marriage be made?
Among other areas of focus, I (MG) am also the creator of “Recoupling Therapy” where I was one of the pioneers in helping divorced couples get back together (hear what Oprah had to say) and stay successfully and happily married. So I know a little bit about what makes, brakes, rebuilds, reinvents and sustains relationships.
For this acquisition to be successful, the simple formula is “Keep your eyes on and serve the compelling vision and manage the convincing opportunity.”
By that we mean, get granular, gain consensus and generate commitment from both AOL and the Huffington Post on the disruptive and transformative vision that such a merger should aim for and fulfil and never let it succumb to the financial opportunity. Why? Because greedy financial opportunists often suck the life out of transformative visions and throw visionaries into a depression when they realise that all the money in the world doesn’t make up for how uncreative and “un fun” business can become.
Sculley nearly did it at Apple (which is what compelled them to bring back Steve Jobs); Schmidt nearly did it at Google (which is what compelled them to make Larry Page the CEO); Starbucks took its eye of the “third place” which brought Howard Schultz back; “customer service” visionary Tony Hsieh lost his desire at LinkExchange and only recaptured it when he became CEO at Zappos and got to focus on “Delivering Happiness.”
For this merger or acquisition to be successful it needs to be built upon and remain dedicated to the core values of 70 % transformational vision, 30 % transactional opportunity. Anything closer to parity and the number crunching, ROI financial opportunists will kill the vision and make it less fun for everyone.