I mentioned to a few people that I was going to AOL for a meetup (Tech Breakfast to be precise). Someone then asked me “why is AOL still relevant?”
With the new 4.4 Billion deal where Verizon is buying AOL, its really good questions. I’m no advocate for AOL. I’ve never worked there nor have I had any contact with AOL outside of these type off events. A former supervisor worked there but that has been over 14 year ago since I knew they were even connected to AOL.
I somewhat nostalgically remember AOL as the “You’ve God Mail” people. They were branded with that sound and even a movie of the same name. It was a cute movie back in 1999. Check out the amazon affiliate link to the right if your are interested in finding out more about it.
Amazing to think at the time, I worked at a startup not to far from AOL (LifeMinders.com in Herndon VA). Yet at the time, I didn’t see how nostalgic the movie would be nearly 2 decades later. If you think about it, nobody’s e-mail says “You’ve Got Mail” anymore with knowledge that it came from AOL. If anything you get a text and you keep your phone on silent so it vibrates.
In AOL today, you have a few ventures you certainly did’t know existed with AOL as a partner or facilitator. At AOL I found Fish Bowl Labs an incubator in the Dulles Corridor of Northern VA.
Fish Bowl is an interesting organization. Fish Bowl Labs just like any other incubator has an application process that is pretty strict. You should apply to join Fishbowl Labs if…
- You want to be surrounded by other great entrepreneurs, engineers & product managers who are also in startup and can commiserate;
- You want regular access to some of AOL’s people working on designing, engineering and distributing AOL’s content & products to over 250,000,000 people… Yes they still have access to over 250,000,000 people;
- You seek true mentorship & access to functional expertise within the AOL community of talented entrepreneurs and AOLers;
- You desire a desks, conference rooms & wireless connectivity along with
access to AOL campus amenities including gym, cafeteria, meeting rooms, and QA lab
Fish Bowl is what I appreciate about AOL but it does’t stop with the startups.
One relevant company / brand I’ve known about for ages is the well known online direction solutions. Mapquest and otherAOL startup adaptation initiatives you will find throughout the AOL facility. Heck, I used Mapquest to get directions to AOL. You can get a tour of the AOL campus if you ever want to find out more about what is still going on at the company.
AOL & ADR Software
One company with whom I’m familiar was ADR Software. My connection with this startup was based upon a deal with one of the men whom help create the company. I had no idea that this Startup was in the AOL Fish Bowl Labs. It is an awesome feeling to be connected to an incubator. Being connected to AOL gives you a boost to feel that you are going in the right direction.
That said, its can be a challenge to see exactly what the Startup is doing in relation to the resources its been given by the incubator. The office space, the chairs the gym all come at a prices. Even if there isn’t a dollar that changes hands from your incubator benefactor to you (The Startup), the minimization of cost gives your the opportunity to optimize the use of your assets.
I was also familiar with ADR Software based upon a previous conversation with a prospective client. This Startup is building a cutting edge mobile app for the construction industry. It was a company that works with construction site to manage the staff and employees in an efficient way. AOL being on the cutting edge of this technology continues to show is relevance in the market today.
Verizon’s acquisition of AOL is going to mean a change for the Dulles corridor. I’m curious what it means for the incubator more than what it means for AOL the Brand. Let me know what you thing. Connect with us on Twitter @leanmobileapps or leave a comment below on what you think of the AOL deal.
To say the least this is a big business with a big industry solution. But today, just like map quest the question is how does it get boiled down to an APP. That is the questions that many of the startups in AOL is attempting to answer. At the same time, they are competing in a nimble audience whom rarely check e-mail but constantly check text. Let me know if you think AOL is relevant.