本文作者Michael Jones是一名互联网高管，也是一名资深的企业家、投资家和顾问。他居住在洛杉矶。最近他曾担任Myspace的CEO，期间主要负责Myspace、Myspace Music和Myspace Mobile的全球业务战略与运营。任职期间，他负责了Myspace的改版，这次改版也是互联网行业最引人关注的一次转型之举。它稳定了长期以来一直走低的用户访问量，把运营成本削减了近90%，并且将Myspace由社交网络转型成一个社交娱乐门户网站。作为一个连续创业的互联网企业家，他也曾创立并卖出过许多企业，包括咨询公司PBJ Digital、应用平台Userplane（后被美国在线收购），Tsavo Media和Myspace等。他现在仍然以投资者、顾问和董事会成员等身份，积极参与许多早期初创公司的事务。
Change within large organizations must be centered around drastic actions. Large companies with practices built to support large organizations are difficult to transform quickly without radical personnel changes. At Myspace, we instituted several shifts in personnel and organizational structure. We found that while each change brought greater efficiencies in decision-making and product development, they weren't radical enough to accomplish the enormous task in front of us.
Do not underestimate how deeply muscle memory is embedded in the company's processes and staff -- so much so that even significant staff changes often do not result in the desired increase in efficiency. It was only through major change, a full disruption to the system, that we were able to galvanize the organization around new goals and begin seeing increased efficiencies. Slow behavioral change creates slow process change. Large behavioral change creates a drastic process change.
Single front door = single point of failure. Many large Internet businesses, such as Myspace and Yahoo, have a single "brand" front door, in that users have one point of entry into the site. Behind the door, users will find multiple product lines. Unfortunately, a single front door means there is a single point of failure in consumers' minds -- even when the product lines behind it are robust.
After the Myspace relaunch, we were able to stabilize many of the primary metrics and start to show growth in certain areas of the product and user behavior. We were beginning to see a clear split in old vs. new user behavior. However, because we had a single front door, we couldn't easily demonstrate clearly defined momentum that was applicable across the entire site.
Netflix (NFLX) faces a similar challenge. Its legacy DVD business was weighing down the perceived momentum of the streaming business and the company overall. So Netflix tried to differentiate the two business lines and create separate websites for each. They've since reversed that decision, but it the long run, separate website may end up being the right answer.
A few parting thoughts for future turn-around investors, boards and executives:
• In the digital world, new brands are easier to create than fixing momentum issues with historically large brands.
• A huge single site / single front door is wonderful when it works, but hedge your strategy with offsite revenue, and if applicable, multiple points of customer entry.
• There are no bad people, only bad processes. To fix them, create radical cultural change, don't attempt a slow cultural shift.
The Internet is still an adolescent industry. The ability to show new life in more mature businesses is crucial to long-term success. This is a problem we all must embrace and solve for. And when we do, I believe we will find that building new businesses on top of older businesses of scale is the best formula to rapid growth and audience renewal.
Michael Jones is an Internet executive, a long-¬‐time entrepreneur, investor and advisor located in Los Angeles. Most recently, Mike served as the CEO of Myspace. In this role, Mike oversaw global business strategy and operations for Myspace, Myspace Music, and Myspace Mobile. During his tenure, he was responsible for the relaunch of Myspace, one of the most high-¬‐profile turn-¬‐around challenges in the industry. This included stabilizing a historically negative traffic and user trend, reducing the operational cost of the business by nearly 90 percent and pivoting the product from its legacy as a social network to a social entertainment destination. A serial Internet entrepreneur, Mike has founded and sold numerous businesses, including agency PBJ Digital, application platform Userplane, which he led from startup to its acquisition by AOL, Tsavo Media and Myspace. Mike continues to be actively involved with early-¬‐stage start-¬‐ups as an investor, advisor and board member.