The widespread criticism of the Yahoo reorganization announced on Tuesday has been a one sided affair – outsiders looking in. Much of the criticism while warranted, has become to personal. Was getting rid of CEO Terry Semel, the quick fix the erstwhile Internet leader needs? Nearly 36% of our readers didn’t think it was the going to help, versus 27% who thought it would help turn the ship around.
What do the Yahoos think? We did not hear much from inside of the company, up until last night when we came across a post on Jonathan Strauss’ blog. It is perchance that we stumbled upon this post. Strauss, who has a little transcript of the webcast, defends the company’s recent actions, and feels optimistic about the future.
At the next all-hands. Just as a reminder. I’m sorry I didn’t do it today. I’m gonna put up there all of the press reports on how Yahoo! was going out of business 5 years ago. And of how we were gonna be swallowed up by AOL, owned by Time-Warner, and by Microsoft, and by everybody else. And Yahoo! looked like it had a dim future. Well those headlines, of course, were used to wrap a lot of fish in a lot of people’s houses, as the expression goes. And they were all full of shit, and they had no idea what we had planned for them. And they do not now as well!
“So, we could read about how I’m gonna join some retirement home. And we could read about how the company doesn’t have a vision. And we could read about how we can’t do this and we can’t do that. Trust me, they will be as full of shit this time as they were last time.” (Terry Semel, Yahoo CEO on the webcast.)
There is a tiny little paragraph at the end of Strauss’ post which tells you that there is a pocket of resistance (so to speak) inside Yahoo, which sees the big picture clearly.
I hate to break it to all of you, but the Internet isn’t about technology. Cisco is a technology company, Yahoo! is a consumer services company — the fact that those services are delivered via IP is just a detail. The people who fault Terry for not knowing how IP switching works might as well have criticized Ted Turner for not knowing how to install a cable head-end.
Thank you! No all Yahoo has to do is stop obsessing with Google. Just focus on five things: make email the best experience in the world, make Yahoo finance better, use blogs and social media and build great media destinations, and of course, make My.Yahoo.com better.
I personally think of Yahoo as a consumer brand, not a technology company. Yahoo is a media company. It knows how to aggregate content pretty well, and it has the audience & has the ability to monetize it well. (My post from yesterday)
PS: We met Strauss before at the Widgets Live conference, and as a result we have him in our feed reader. If there are other Yahoo employees who would like to send me their blog links, please email me, so I can stay in touch with you.
12 thoughts on “Yahoo Reorg, The Inside Story”
Make Yahoo! Finance better is the winner!
Google Finance is currently worthless. The major business sites can’t get the experience right. Yahoo! Finance has the best experience currently. Unforunately, it has slipped lately. It used to offer real-time quotes easily. Now you have to work for them. The message board change was a disaster. I’ve seen some AJAX streaming updates, but that feature seems to be gone again.
I imagine that a finance site with an unbeatable experience and vibrant community (in other words, Yahoo! Finance from a year ago polished up to web 2.0) would be quite the winner.
How does Strauss really feel about the issue? 🙂
Google is playing both with Microsoft and Yahoo without them realizing it. It is forcing both companies to drain their resources competing in ideas that will hardly win over new users.
1) Gmail – probably a bit more than a pet project at Google, but the others of course had to scramble and match Gmail’s functionality. Still, only 10% of people switched to Gmail. Result, Yahoo & Microsoft had to spend resources on updating their services, without really gaining anything.
2) Google Maps – the same situation as above. Both companies were forced to Google’s battlefield, having to spend resources not to look outdated. Does Google really care about the maps?!?!? No, not now… But why not spend some money so that your competitors have to spend theirs to match your service.
Google’s battlefield is AdSense and all these pet projects of theirs are distractions for the other teams. And voila, it has worked – YPN is a joke, Panama is late, few people use MSFT ad-technology…
So who cares about Google/Yahoo Finance… Hmm, certainly not 90% of users who are fine with the service they get with Yahoo at the moment. If they want something more, there are many premium services out there. But hey, look at that. Google forces them to spend their resources on improving it…
And what about their Answers service!??! I wonder how much they spent on it.. And they think Google’s exit was a victory?!?! Haha, all those resources they spent on Answers could be just so much better spent elsewhere, but they are not smart enough to realize that.
We could go on and on… google Spreadsheets, google docs etc…
Yahoo has become an bloated company littered with under performing people who still think highly of themselves who are managed by inflated egos who still think they’re great.
Hillarious situation !
they were all full of shit, and they had no idea what we had planned for them. And they do not now as well!
the main difference between then & now is that everybody got hit hard in 2000 / 2001, and everyone had to recover at the same time with equivalent challenges.
this time around, lots of companies appear to be kicking ass — most notably Google — but Yahoo is struggling to keep their stock price afloat while they squander #1 position in users & page views.
no one gets blamed for drowning in a typhoon. but if you can’t swim when the sun is shining that’s a different story.
It knows how to aggregate content pretty well, and it has the audience & has the ability to monetize it well.
2 of out 3 anyway. they are NOT monetizing it well.
whether or not Terry Semel knows technology, SOMEONE over there better figure out how to monetize better.
furthermore, knowing the biz and having some technical fundamentals probably DOES help in crafting a vision and a strategy.
for an industry changing as radically every 5 years as the internet, you bet your ASS the people running the company better understand what’s happening to their position in the market & how that’s impacted by technology.
do they have to be a coder? no.
do they need to understand how blogging, social networking, search, advertising, video, email, and the web all work & fit together? yes, they damn well do.
so while us outsiders may indeed be full of shit, regardless the folks on the inside need to demonstrate they aren’t.
Well said, Dave. My thoughts exactly.
Refreshing Om! You’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head! Yahoo have the real estate (Finance, MyYahoo etc) they just need to take them to the next level. I’ve been saying for years that they are missing some fresh strategists at high levels that can drive these already successful properties forwards. Such a big audience to play with, should be a dream job for anyone wanting to work on something exciting these days (I know I’d jump at the chance of putting some energy into those areas of Yahoo).
Quote fronm said Yahooligan
“I hate to break it to all of you, but the Internet isn’t about technology. Cisco is a technology company, Yahoo! is a consumer services company — the fact that those services are delivered via IP is just a detail. The people who fault Terry for not knowing how IP switching works might as well have criticized Ted Turner for not knowing how to install a cable head-end.”
Wrong…IP is an interactive medium with a feedback loop.
And IP bandwidth has gone up by two orders of magnitude since Yahoo set its stall out – its a video media now, not a text one.
That changes the entire structure of the game.
I blogged on the Other eMail earlier over here.
There is so much they could do, Om your list is a good start but there is more – its very frustrating reading these guys.
I agree with some others have said before. Yahoo must focus on making its Project panama work.
Jon Strauss is a Corp-Dev guy. The Corp-Dev team at Yahoo! typically are numbers’ wizards with no operational experience. Their job is to feel positive and give the external world the impression that everything is gung-ho…and sometimes do deals when they are not needed.
Would be better to rely on feedback from actual Business Unit Heads. Unfortunately, very very few of the guys who run BUs lke Garlinghouse actually publish Blogs.