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AOL CEO Tim Armstrong Discusses Digital Media Disruption at the Sept. 17 Titans Breakfast

On September 17, about 400 members of the region’s technology community gathered at The Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner for the first NVTC Titans event of the 2014-2015 season. The breakfast featured Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL Inc., who discussed mega trends in the digital media industry.

Tim Armstrong
Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL, addresses the Titans audience on Sept. 17, 2014.

During his candid remarks, Armstrong gave an inside look at how AOL is adapting to the evolving digital media ecosystem, with a focus on “simplifying the internet for consumers and creators.” He said AOL’s strategy is to target where “culture meets code,” utilizing open source software to utilize the world’s talents.

In his discussion of megatrends, Armstrong shared how AOL is also working to develop “perfect products” that can be tailored to an individual consumer’s needs in real time; and the need for leaders to be “instrument rated,” meaning they will need to adapt to manage things they can’t see, particularly given how much data is now in the cloud.

Tim Armstrong, Sudhakar Kesavan and Lisa Veith.
NVTC Chair Sudhakar Kesavan of ICF International (middle) and Lisa Veith of MAXIMUS (right) present AOL CEO Tim Armstrong (left) with a token of NVTC’s appreciation.

Armstrong also highlighted trends like “machine socialization” and how content creation can now occur jointly across world communities. This free flow of data is evident in some of AOL’s new “driverless” ad campaigns that are built in real-time based on how consumers interact with content. AOL is also testing a recruiting model where recruiters can make same-day offers to qualified engineers.

In a closing Q&A session with the NVTC audience, Armstrong discussed AOL’s mobile strategy, stating that everything will be “omnichannel” in the future and that the goal of mobile delivery should be to simplify and condense information for consumers. He also touched on the responsibility of technology companies like AOL to help protect children from cyber-bullying and other online risks; changes he expects in the retail sector, such as real-time delivery; and how technology and cities will impact human interaction in the future.