Partying At AOL

from the more-excerpts dept

If you wait long enough, it looks like you might be able to read the entire new book about AOL, Stealing Time, just from the excerpts being published in newspapers. We already had a fascinating excerpt about the worst of AOL’s dealmakers, and now the NY Post is running the first of three excerpts from the book. This one is about how the partying at AOL went out of control, involving sex, drugs, and gambling (just what a “family-oriented” company would want). Employees did spur-of-the-moment “team bonding” trips on the corporate jet across the country to visit strip clubs. They snorted cocaine in public, spent plenty of time in Vegas, and there was plenty of intra-office affairs. Of course, there’s no indication in this excerpt how prevalent this sort of activity was. It could have just been a few bad seeds (even if they were high up in the company). It’s unclear if this was as widespread as the book makes it out to be. I know that I’ve heard similar stories from other internet companies during the height of the boom years, but never witnessed anything close to it. Sure, some people went overboard, but it never seemed to be embedded into any corporate culture, as this excerpt implies. In fact, the book suggests that all of these activities were part of the bonding experience at AOL, and since people didn’t want to give up their stock options, no one wanted to blow the whistle on such activities.

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Comments on “Partying At AOL”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Sorry Charlie

While these folks were wining and dining, 99.9% of the employees at AOL were just doing their jobs, including me. But that’s boring, so no one will write a book about that.

It’s much sexier to talk about these jerks… I hope this doesn’t tarnish the “family-friendly reputation” of Techdirt. 🙂

Chris says:

No Subject Given

It wasn’t just AOL though. This was going on at the upper echelons of every major tech company. AOL is just the whipping boy of choice right now because of the book. The Qwest annual sales meeting in Vegas in 2001 was out of control. 2500 hundred people at the Bellagio and Paris – and the company had just reported a multi billion dollar loss. I did appreciate the private B-52’s concert though!

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