Richard Parsons, General Custer, Google, and the Sioux Nation
OK - I ordinarily don't get involved in hissy fits between corporate executives, but I was so inflamed by the inane remarks of Time-Warner's CEO, Richard Parsons that I just had to weigh in.
Here's what Parsons said on Tuesday, speaking before the annual National Cable & Telecommunications Association conference:
"The Googles of the world, they are the Custer of the modern world. We are the Sioux nation. They will lose this war if they go to war."
I've known a lot of corporate CEOs and senior managers (remember, I used to work for Time-Warner), so I'm no stranger to megalomania. But this one takes the cake, because it's so wrong in the case of Time-Warner. This organization has always had "too many chiefs and not enough indians," in the sense that it's long been bloated with too many chin-stroking executives with 300-year plans, and not enough well-paid people to actually keep the wagons moving.
Google, the target of Parson's tirade, has actually executed on its plan to make the Web coherent. Time-Warner's various Internet plans, beginning with Pathfinder , extending into ridiculous properties such as Entertaindom.com and culminating in a failed "hub strategy" that led it directly into the arms of AOL, has done little or nothing to contribute to the infosphere.
Sorry, Mr. Parsons. Your fantasy of leading an insurgent band of Native Americans against a foolish invading army is just that: a fantasy. Google represents the insurgency here: your company represents the doomed army circling the wagons. You and and your legal snipers can take potshots at Google from every angle, but you are no longer the gatekeepers to information and entertainment. You might win a few battles, Mr. Parsons, but the war has already been lost, and as Glenn Douglas of Instapundit has pointed out, it was the Sioux, not the Europeans, who were ultimately defeated.