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5 Tough Lessons Former CEO Mike Jones Learned from MySpace

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Michael Jones spent the last two years at MySpace, first as co-president and then as CEO, attempting to turn the company around. Despite a wide range of changes the relaunch never quite worked and Jones left in August as new owners took over. Now he shares the lessons he learned.

When Michael Jones took what probably seemed like a very bad job as co-president at MySpace, ultimately becoming CEO and overseeing the last turnaround attempt, many people wondered why he'd do such a thing. In a piece written for Fortune, Jones stated, “I wanted to know if it could be done—if we could revive a legacy Internet brand that had so many challenges."

Though he did help improve the site and streamline operations from which new owners Specific Media will benefit, he was not able to fully engineer a successful relaunch. Here are the “five lessons [he] learned from the front":

1. Consumers have long brand memories.

“In the end, I believe Myspace would have had a better chance for success if we had relaunched it as an entirely new brand."

2. Utility outlasts entertainment.

“Myspace's entertainment value, with its optional anonymity and its entertainment-focused interest graph, never achieved the same level of utility for consumers [as did Facebook with its social graph]."

3. Perceived momentum = perceived value.

“As of August 2010, Myspace was interacting with over 100 million users a month, generating billions of page views and streaming hundreds of millions of songs. Yet...the market value for Myspace was far below the value placed on many other smaller, yet similar, businesses."

4. Change within large organizations must be centered around drastic actions.

“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."

5. Single front door = single point of failure.

“A single front door [to one big site] means there is a single point of failure in consumers' minds—even when the product lines behind it are robust."

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