AOL Moves To NYC, WaPo Writes A Feature Piece

It’s a pity how the once indisputably mighty AOL has fallen since its glory days.

Not too long ago, it was both the nation’s largest ISP and one of the biggest new media employers in the industry. Now, they’re just another mid-to-large sized new media firm located in downtown NYC. Of course, they are one that has that unique Time Warner relationship… But — let’s not mince words — AOL suffered a decline.

The Washington Post left their SWDC perch to visit Virginia and see how AOL’s departure has hurt new media firms in the Washington metro area. AOL has shrunk their Virginia employment base from 5,700 employees to just 3,000. So what do the venture capitalists of the nation’s capital have to say about that?

“A leading company attracts a steady flow of top talent to a region, some of whom eventually spawn new ventures in the area that then grow to be leading companies,” said Adam Lehman, a former AOL senior vice president and Bethesda venture capitalist. “In the absence of having an Internet leader here, we risk the negative version of the cycle, where quality talent migrates elsewhere, with innovation, capital and employment growth following them.”

Translation: If you’re a DC tech or new media type, there might be better opportunities elsewhere.