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美国在线的“恶棍”CEO  发贴心情 Post By:2015-5-27 9:22:27

Tim Armstrongis my favourite CEO. I can’t think of anyone else who has provided me with such rich and varied copy over the years. Since he took over at AOL in 2009 he has got into assorted scrapes, taken off his shoes, put his foot in his mouth, lost his rag, offended mothers, fired someone in public, thrown his weight around, talked a blue streak of guff — while at the same time making more money for shareholders at every turn.蒂姆?阿姆斯特朗(Tim Armstrong)是我最欣赏的首席执行官(CEO)。这么多年,我想不起还有什么人像他一样形象如此丰富多变。自从2009年接手美国在线(AOL)以来,他做了形形色色的“混蛋”事——脱鞋、说错话、发脾气、冒犯母亲群体、公开炒人、颐指气使、废话连篇——同时又总为股东赚到更多的钱。
  
Last week, when he agreed to sell AOL for $4.4bn, a Forbes contributor called him a “genius”, arguing that the main reason Verizon wanted to buy the company was to get exposure to the brilliance of its CEO. Mr Armstrong’s bank manager presumably agrees: the man’s personal gain from the deal is put by the Wall Street Journal at $180m. Yet as Forbes was cheering, others were making ruder noises. A blogger on Gawker was writing a post called “A Salute to AOL’s Tim Armstrong, a Real Shitty Boss”.不久前,当他同意以44亿美元的价格出售AOL时,一名《福布斯》(Forbes)的撰稿人称他为“天才”,认为Verizon希望收购这家公司的主要原因是为了得到这位CEO的才华。《华尔街日报》(Wall Street Journal)估计他从该交易中得到的个人好处是1.8亿美元,阿姆斯特朗的银行经理大概会表示认同。不过,在《福布斯》为阿姆斯特朗欢呼的时候,其他人则发出了一些较不敬的声音。Gawker一名博客主写了一篇帖子,标题为《向AOL的蒂姆?阿姆斯特朗致敬,一名真正的垃圾老板》。
  
Many times I have tried to interview this corporate hero/villain in the hope of understanding how one of the least-appealing figures in corporate life could have done so well, but his zealous PRs have come between us. Instead I have had to content myself with listening to him talk, looking at photos and videos, reading his memos and talking to people who have worked for him.我尝试过很多次去采访这位企业英雄/恶棍,希望了解企业史上最不受欢迎的人物之一如何能如此成功,但是阿姆斯特朗积极的公关们总是插在我们中间。相反,我只能满足于听他说话、观看照片和视频、阅读其备忘录、以及与那些为他工作的人聊天。
  
The first stop is his words, which never disappoint in being clumsy, ungrammatical and plain baffling. On various occasions I’ve given him gongs for misuse of language, but he goes on excelling. Last week in a memo to staff he explained: “the deal will game-change the size and scale of AOL’s opportunity” — neglecting to say which opportunity he was talking about, and coining a new verb — to game-change — so offensive I have already decided to give him a prize in my 2015 awards. If that memo left anyone confused, he went on to explain in an interview: “This deal, we feel, is the right deal to go forward. In the go-forward scenario, we plan on doing the deal with Verizon” — thus offering a double helping of “going forward” in a perfectly circular arrangement of pure nothingness.首先说说他的言辞,在措辞笨拙、不合语法和令人困惑方面,他从来不让人失望。我曾在不同场合夸赞他滥用文字的水平,而他则不断登峰造极。在不久前一则写给员工的备忘录中,他解释称:“这笔交易将‘游戏改变’(game-change) AOL机遇的大小和规模”,暂且不论他所说的是何种机遇,他发明的新词——game-change——如此让人不爽,以至于我已经决定授予他一个2015年大奖了。如果这则备忘录让人感到困惑,接下来他在一次采访中是这样解释的:“这笔交易,我们感觉,是应该推进的正确交易。在推进的方案中,我们计划与Verizon达成交易”——就这样,在一个纯废话的完美循环句式中,他慷慨地两次使用“推进”一词来帮助大家理解。
  
The next stop is Google images, where among many photos of his handsome, heavy-jawed, thick-lipped face (think Humphrey Bogart minus the twinkling brown eyes) is a picture of Mr Armstrong and Arianna Huffington looking thoroughly awkward on stage with their shoes off. The pair were raising awareness of how horrid it is for children to be barefoot in African villages; in doing so they also raised even more awareness of the vanity and the smugness of well-shod corporate America.再来说说谷歌(Google)图片——在他众多面庞英俊、下巴有力、嘴唇丰厚(想象一下亨弗雷?鲍嘉(Humphrey Bogart),只是没有那双闪着神采的棕色眼睛)的照片中,有一张他与阿里安娜?赫芬顿(Arianna Huffington)在舞台上光着脚、看起来无比笨拙的照片。他们是在提醒人们儿童在非洲村庄赤脚走路的可怕性;他们这么做也让人们更加意识到,有好鞋穿的美国企业界人士是多么的虚荣和做作。

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  发贴心情 Post By:2015-5-27 9:22:50

Over on YouTube, there is Mr Armstrong, telling CNN how he does it. “Don’t allow loser talk,” he says, eyes boring into the interviewer. He reveals that his dad was a Vietnam vet who gave his son some uncompromising advice when he took on AOL: “Do whatever it takes to be successful.”YouTube上有一段阿姆斯特朗向CNN诉说自己是如何成功的视频。“不允许像失败者那样讲话,”他说,眼神直勾勾地盯着采访者。他透露自己的父亲是一名越战老兵,在他接手AOL时父亲给了他一些冷酷的建议:“为达成功,不择手段”。
  
One of the things it takes to be successful is to ignore the feelings of staff. There was the famous way he referred to the two “AOLers” who had “distressed babies”, explaining that the high cost of looking after these infants was partly responsible for changes to the company’s pension scheme.获得成功的一条要领是忽略员工的感受。他在一次著名的言论中提到两名有“不幸婴儿”的“AOL人”,解释称照顾婴儿的高昂成本是导致公司养老金计划改变的部分原因。
  
There was the even more famous way he fired an employee in front of 1,000 others simply because he had had the nerve to take a photograph. Afterwards Mr Armstrong admitted that this hadn’t been entirely fair on a “human level” — the unfortunate implication being that this is not a level the CEO visits very often.而他炒人的方式甚至更加出名——他在1000人面前炒掉了一名员工,仅仅因为后者胆敢拍照。随后阿姆斯特朗承认这在“人性的角度”并不完全公平,遗憾的是这意味着他并不经常会站在这个角度上思考。
  
Yet this headline-grabbing story misses a bigger point about the man. If you listen carefully to the tape of the firing (which I urge you to do), you will notice that the truly awful thing was not merely that he sacked someone in public for nothing. It was the way he talks to employees. A hectoring monologue, in the course of which he twice tells people if they don’t agree with him they can leave right way.不过,这个上头条的故事漏掉了关于这个人更重要的一点。如果你仔细听听他那段炒人录音(我强烈建议你去听听),你会注意到真正可怕之处不仅是他毫无来由地当众炒人,而是他与员工对话的方式。威胁式的一言堂,期间他两次告诉员工如果不同意他说的话可以立马走人。
  
Later, Mr Armstrong explained that the firing was “an emotional response”. Yet his voice tells a different story. He said: “you’re fired — out”, waited a couple of seconds for the offender to scarper, and then resumed the hectoring in precisely the same tone of voice. The control was much more frightening than any emotion.后来,阿姆斯特朗解释称这次炒人实属“情绪反应”。不过他的声音泄露了一个截然不同的故事。他说:“你被解雇了——出去”,停顿数秒等那位冒犯者离开,然后以完全相同的语调继续威胁式讲话。这种冷酷比任何情绪爆发都吓人得多。
  
The clip, though less than three minutes long, is a masterclass in how not to talk to staff, how not to motivate and not to lead. It also provides the moral to this sorry story. Every modern management expert will tell you that CEOs who are arseholes no longer survive. The most successful leaders are supposed to be the humble ones, who listen and take people with them. Mr Armstrong is living proof that this is nonsense. If you enrich your shareholders — which you tend to do if you are hell-bent on succeeding — you can be as nice or as nasty as you like.尽管不足3分钟长度,但这段录音堪称大师级教程——教你如何不与员工对话、如何不激励员工以及如何不去领导。它还让这个令人遗憾的故事有了教育意义。每一位现代管理专家都会告诉你,混蛋CEO是生存不下去的。最成功的领导人应该是谦逊的领导人,他们会倾听,并团结周围的人。阿姆斯特朗就是证明这纯属无稽之谈的活生生的例子。只要你让股东变富——如果你不择手段地想成功,你往往会做到这点——你就可以随心所欲地当绅士或当混蛋。
  
译者/马柯斯

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