It is truly amazing how the rules of business continue to be written and then re-written. A great example is Steve Case, AOL's founder, who now rues the day his company merged with super-content provider Time Warner. Speaking with Charlie Rose, Case noted that the best thing AOL could do was "de-merge" with Time Warner in order to become competitive again with the more focused Google or Yahoo! "It has not turned out the way I expected," Case noted. "I'm sorry I did it."
How many other big companies reached mega-status by buying other media outlets, hoping for that elusive synergy? Remember it wasn't that long ago when it seemed so simple - that broadcasters would buy billboard companies, concert promotion companies, TV networks, and other media concerns.
But the reality is that merging disparate operations always comes down to the quality of management. It takes great people to bring companies together, to soothe egos, and to truly understand the nuances of melding different cultures. There are only so many Jack Welch's and Herb Kelleher's to go around.
Sometimes, less is truly more.