TechCrunch founder Mike Arrington sat down with AOL CEO Tim Armstrong this afternoon at TechCrunch Disrupt SF – yes, the CEO of the same company that Arrington sold the blog he created to two years ago (…before later being forced out). The last time the two were on stage together was when AOL bought TechCrunch, in fact. Arrington started off by complimenting Armstrong on tripling the AOL stock price – and he wanted to know: how did you do it?
“Operationally, we’ve been doing a lot better,” said Armstrong. “We’ve increased our focus on products, which includes businesses and brands – including this conference,” he said referring to Disrupt. He also mentioned the major patent sale, which was about making sure AOL investors got a good return. (AOL sold $1.1 billion worth of patents to Microsoft in April.)
Arrington then wanted to know about the general vibe at AOL – and how the board was reacting to all the changes and developments.
“Overall our board has gone through a significant stock drop,” Armstrong said. “We’ve been doing a major turnaround, and then we had a proxy battle that last for 6 months,” he explained. “Only in the last few months has it gotten any better.”
“Does winning feel good?”, Arrington asked. “We haven’t won yet,” Armstrong said. When asked what it would look like when AOL actually did win, Armstrong explained that AOL would “win” when it’s “in a position where it has consistent growth in both of consumers and products.”
“I’m happy that things are better, but I see things that are much better in the future,” Armstrong said.