Speaking at a conference, Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons described the current media landscape by saying, "The Googles of the world, they are the Custer of the modern world. We are the Sioux nation," a reference to the famous Battle of the Little Bighorn. There are a couple of things very wrong with this statement. The most obvious is that if you're trying to make the argument that you can thrive in the new environment, the Sioux nation doesn't exactly make for the most flattering comparison, considering how things ultimately played out. The other, more serious, problem is that it shows that Parson's strategic thinking is totally wrong. Treating Google as an adversary is the wrong way to think of things. After all, the two companies are in different, complementary lines of business. Time Warner, as a creator of content, should be interested in how Google's search and advertising capabilities can improve its business, rather than trying to "beat" Google, whatever that would mean. Unfortunately, Parsons' thinking seems to be endemic among media executives these days, which goes a long way in explaining the industry's struggles.
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