Friday, March 13, 2009

Cramer v. Cramer as He KOs Himself on Jon Stewart's Daily Show

Last night was the much-anticipated grudge match between Jim Cramer (host of CNBC's "Mad Money") and Jon Stewart (social commentator and comedian extraordinaire of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show").  The winner?  Need I ask? 

It really came down to Cramer v. Cramer, as the unfortunate -- "what was he thinking to be on Stewart's show" -- purported pundit essentially was foisted by his own petard.  Stewart -- never afraid of a challenge -- as expected, outsmarted Cramer at every turn ... and, with Cramer's own highly troubling words from an earlier interview.  Cramer's constant refrain of "I should do better" and "you do nothing wrong by criticizing me" rung hollow.  If that were the case, why was Cramer so alarmed by Stewart's shenanigans in the first place.  His strategy of contrition simply back-fired.  He is the host of "Mad Money"! C'mon, get mad!  Fire back!  But, there was none of that.

You may ask, "Peter, what does this have to do with digital media?"  Well, first, don't ask -- just watch it.  Second, if you don't watch it here, believe me, you will get the clip from somebody else today in your inbox.

AOL Raids Google

AOL, the former top dog destination in the Internet business but more recently its pariah, scored a rare victory yesterday by poaching one of Google's top executives to be its new Chairman and CEO.  Google SVP Tim Armstrong, a long-timer (although only 37) who was one of the company's top sales execs, will immediately take the reins amidst an overall management overhaul at struggling AOL.  Armstrong replaces Randy Falco -- and Falco's #2, President & COO Ron Grant also will leave AOL.   Falco had overseen $1.6 billion in acquisitions during his tenure at AOL (which lasted only a couple years), but nothing he did stopped the ongoing slide of AOL subscribers and shareholder value.

Armstrong certainly has his challenges, but largely maligned AOL still is the Internet's 4th largest property behind Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft.  And his sales experience and relationships (and pedigree) are significantly more relevant to AOL's mission than was Falco's.  At a minimum, Armstrong brings a much needed shot in the arm of positive buzz and excitement at AOL.