Friday, January 29, 2010

What Happened Afterward

He graduated from Hawaii’s private Punahou School and went to college on the East Coast. After completing his education in Massachusetts he took his first job in the Midwest, where his efforts met with only modest success. Then, almost by magic, his career took off. Barely learning the rudiments at each stage, he was promoted rapidly from position to position. His last leg to the top of the ladder coincided with a once-in-a-generation, massive wave of enthusiasm that infected the general population. The wave swept away his opponents and left him the uncontested master of all he surveyed.

But the enthusiasm receded, and problems--knotty, complicated problems--began to appear. The people realized that he had neither the experience nor the wisdom to lead them. Disenchantment grew, while their misery continued unabated. Eventually he departed, his personal fortune assured, but the entire enterprise took years to recover. Ironically, the base that gave him his start has been discredited during this whole sorry episode, and its continued existence is in doubt because of its association with him.

And that, children, is how Steve Case took over the largest media company in the world, and what happened afterward.

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