5 Great Lessons You Can Learn From AOL

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For as long as there have been computers, there has been AOL. This once-monolithic company has seen a sharp decline in recent years, and yet its history is still worth remembering. Read on to learn five great lessons we can learn from AOL. What company was once known as “quantum computer services inc.”? AOL

AOL was a pioneer in the online world with instant messaging, email, and chat rooms.

It handled the early internet traffic for America Online and has always had its finger on the pulse of technology -especially when it comes to phones! For example, the first phone made specifically for internet use was created by AOL in 1996 called “The One”.

Five great lessons learnt from them are:

1.  Don’t go all-out during your early stages

AOL had a head start because it was one of the first companies to offer internet services. However, it went all out when it launched its dial-up access service and neglected email. The company has since moved on to become a leader in online email while competing with Google and Microsoft’s emails. AOL did well to protect their server so that the FBI could only view the information of individual users, when the FBI was investigating a case. They went as far as to crush their hard drives under trucks. They didn’t allow them access to the mainframe until 1999 and by that time, AOL had already gone global and was almost unstoppable.

2.  Be slow but steady in establishing yourself

AOL had a lot of trouble when it first launched its services. Most people thought their service was too complicated and that the company was old-fashioned. It took them a long time to get more people on board and for the company to gain recognition as a leader in the industry. This is also very true for Twitter as we know it today – it took them 6 years to gain enough followers in order to become popular.

AOL took its time and made sure that it established its presence in every market it entered, before attempting any expansion projects or investing too much into research and development.

3.  Don’t depend on one product

AOL’s business was based solely on internet access. Unfortunately, this led to its downfall. It started developing other services but consumers didn’t use them as much, so the service’s sales dropped and by the time the services were launched, people actually used other products.

This is very true for Twitter as well. They have their own suite of apps but the company tends to focus on the main website for users to submit content instead of confirming that it will drive a good number of tweets to its users.

Suddenly, they found themselves in a crisis when the use of the internet started to regress and profit from it. They didn’t have any other products, so they had to quickly revamp their business model or else they could be out of business!

4.  Research and development should always be a priority

It is said that no business is safe from failure until it’s been tried. This is what happened to AOL when they tried way too many things so they were in a situation where they were either going to succeed or fail. They had one of the most advanced ways of accessing the internet at the time, but it was not widely adopted by consumers because it was too complicated and hard to use. Although they took their time and established themselves in the market before expanding, they did not neglect research and development because it was these innovations that kept them from falling behind the competition.

5.  Know your customers

AOL had to know their customers. They always had a finger on the pulse of the consumers and were able to market to them effectively. They know how many users there were in each country and what their needs and wants were.

There are a lot of lessons we can learn from AOL’s history. The most important one is to not pass up an opportunity when it presents itself, but also be mindfully aware of your current position in the market, so you don’t spend too much money into research and development projects that may not pan out. They would use surveys, testing, and analysis to make a decision on what their users wanted. The extent that they did this is a testament to how much time and effort was put into the company by its founders and management.  They also made sure their ads were targeted towards your interests. AOL had an amazing ad strategy for developing a unique user experience for all users.

Conclusion:

AOL was a great company but let its success get to their head. They dropped their focus on their super-competitive dial-up services and depended heavily on email.  This led them to neglect their other services, which caused their sales to drop dramatically. Luckily, they had enough time to revamp their business model in order to keep up with the rapid changes happening in the online community. It is important to always listen to your customers and continue with research and development despite your current position in the market.

There are many labels that could be given to describe me, but one thing’s for certain: I am an entrepreneur with passion. Whether it's building websites and social media campaigns for new businesses or traveling the world on business trips - being entrepreneurs means constantly looking at yourself in a different light so as not get bored of your own success!

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