Posts for Tag: jerry yang

Yahoo's new CEO is ...... Carol Bartz!

AllThingsD is reporting that Carol Bartz (previously CEO of Autodesk) has accepted the Yahoo CEO position. Good move for her as there are only a handful of companies with iconic status in Silicon Valley (if not the country). It's interesting how CEOs tend to reflect the state of where a company is and will most likely go. When Koogle was CEO, he was basically brought in as the adult to mind the store the kids built. His tenure was marked by impressive growth but not really sure if he was the driving force behind that or more just the conductor of the train already on track to do what it was going to do. Next was Semel who was brought in because Yahoo no longer wanted to be a tech company but a mass media player with its hands in Hollywood, Madison Ave, etc. Yang's short tenure saw Yahoo try to get back to its tech roots, albeit with little or no success. What will the Bartz era bring? Probably sound management with a focus on maximizing profits and shareholder value. Whether that means trimming more fat or selling off a business unit for a pretty penny (perhaps Search to one S. Ballmer?), I'm not really sure. One thing that's certain is that Bartz is a very capable business manager, often compared to Mark Hurd over at HP. I hear he's done an ok job.
Of bigger concern to me is the fact that in a way, Yahoo was able to get an insider without getting an insider. In my opinion, the whole point of a new CEO was to inject new life into the company - get an outside perspective because the inside one was not working. Bartz has had a prior relationship with both Yang and Decker (sits on Cisco board with Yang, Intel board with Decker) and are good friends. Let's hope that their prior relationship doesn't prevent Bartz from doing what needs to be done.

Everyone wants a bailout

I'm reading the details of the Big 3 automaker's recent request for a $25 billion bailout.  Specifically, I'm referring to high salaries for executives in the midst of multi-billion dollar losses.  It's not the amount of the pay that bothers me.  CEOs and executives of multi-billion dollar companies are entitled to compensation above and beyond what normal folk should get.  What really gets my goat is that the domestic automobile industry has been lagging behind foreign players for years now yet none of these CEOs really seemed to care.  Instead of innovating, they decided to ask for a handout.  And I'm afraid that the government will give them this bailout for fear that tens of thousands of rank and file employees will lose their jobs.  The problem is that it will continue to perpetuate a philosophy of mediocrity amoung the employees of the automakers.  Do you think if Yahoo was given a bailout that Jerry Yang would have stepped aside?  It took the dramatic act of Yang leaving Yahoo for that company to finally move forward.  I doubt any of these CEOs would do the same.

On a side note, Toyota's chief makes about $1 million a year and his company generated close to $15 billion in profits last year.  I guess I should be a little upset.

It's official - Yahoo searches for new CEO

I guess we can't say this was unexpected. Though I have been critical of Yang in the past, I always maintained that he was only doing what he thought best for Yahoo. He can't really be blamed for the downturn in the online advertising market (everyone is hurting) or even losing market share in search to Google (Semel can take the brunt of that hit). The failure of the Microsoft deal will squarely fall on his shoulders but if it turns out a new CEO can turn Yahoo's fortunes around, the pain of that gaff will be greatly diminished.

So who would make a good CEO? I think they should go and poach a very senior executive from the Google ranks. It would have to be someone from outside the inner circle but still high enough to have had their fingers in a significant amount of Google's operations. My short list would be Shona Brown, Jonathan Rosenberg, David Eun, or perhaps even Marissa Mayer. If Facebook has shown it can poach, why not Yahoo? It has much better financials and a stronger foundation - i.e., better chance of success, in my opinion.

What would you do if you lost $30 billion?

Yahoo! is tanking on yesterday's confirmations from Jerry Yang and Steve Ballmer that the rumors of a new buy-out deal by Microsoft were indeed false. Yahoo!'s currently valued at about $16 billion, a far cry from the $46 billion that Microsoft had offered. The question now is, in this bad economic climate, how long will it take for Yahoo! (if at all) to reach that valuation on its own? 2 years? Maybe 4 years?

The big bet they are making is that YOS is going to blow up. I'm not necessarily sure being a platform translates into significantly higher reveneus/profits. It almost seems as if they want to get more people to interact with them in more of a Facebook style. To my knowledge, Facebook still hasn't found a way to effectively monetize all of its traffic.

I think they should take a page out of Google's book and copy AdSense but make it more open and transparent. As a former AdSense customer, it's a pretty cryptic system. "Just put this script up and trust that we'll pay you something." Yahoo! could improve upon this by treating publishers like partners and not kids. Yahoo! is at the point where they've got nothing to lose so why not try anything and everything?

An honest answer regarding lay-offs

A few days ago I wrote about lay-offs and how I was glad we played it safe with our hiring strategy. Today, I read over at Techcrunch that Mahalo is cutting 10% of its staff. The thing I was most impressed with was CEO Jason Calacanis' honest admission that he let down the people who he had to lay-off.

"It’s my responsibility to make this hard decision and I don’t take it lightly. To the people impacted I’m very sorry that I wasn’t able to anticipate this better. It’s my fault and I’m sorry that you’ve got to bear the burden of my inability to better prepare."


Contrast this with the somewhat arms length statement Yahoo! CEO Jerry Yang made when he announced his 10% cut.

"affected employees will be notified of layoffs in the next several weeks. we understand that hearing this news now creates uncertainty, but we are moving ahead in a way that balances speed with a clear focus on accomplishing what is necessary to set the organization up for long term success. going forward it will continue to be important for us to make the right decisions to keep our business efficient and strong.

having layoffs is very difficult, particularly in light of all we’ve experienced this year. but we don’t take these decisions lightly, and are committed to treating affected employees fairly, offering severance and outplacement services."


In my very humble opinion, Jason's statement had genuine feeling and an admission of failure. It sounded like he really cared about his employees and that he took full responsibility for his actions. Jerry, on the other hand, seemed to take a very corporate approach in his statement. Almost as if he's disconnected from the entire process. In saying that they are "moving ahead in a way that balances speed with a clear focus", I felt he placed some of the blame on the company's poor performance on the employees themselves. As if letting them go will help turn the ship around. Let's not take into account the fact that Yahoo! could have sold itself to Microsoft just a few months ago for more than 2.5 times its current value. Or go back a few years and ask why Yahoo! couldn't counteract the Google threat even as they were sending millions of queries a day when Google powered their search engine. No where did I ever hear an admission of guilt from Jerry even though he is the head of the company.

In all fairness, it's easier to be close with your employees when the count is 50-60 versus 14,000+ and Jerry can't be blamed for all that is wrong with Yahoo! He inherited a company that lost its edge the day they decided to outsource their search technology. Still, a little contrition couldn't hurt.