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Dead Man Walking Memo – Yahoo FantasyLand November 19, 2006

Posted by John in Technology.

Anyone who has worked in a big company will tell you that Brad Garlinghouse’s memo sounds so familar.   Personally I think that it’s a ‘dead man walking’ memo – he must be one step out the door to write that piece.  The memo (imho) didn’t feel like leadership or innovative but more like a exit post.   Valleywag calls it the Jerry McGuire move.

In fact his writeup seemed like a classic Peter Drucker-like evaluation of most any big company.  It felt nothing like leadership or innovation to me.  Sorry but if I were a peer or coworker of Brad I would not have been inspired.    It offered nothing tangable other than ‘generic’ process management jargon and concepts – maybe the Yahoo problems are that basic.  The memo also weighted heavily on the negative side.  Yahoo is a great company and I don’t think that they fell down at all – they are a huge success and a growing media conglomerate.  They are a battleship and movement is slow.   Sure Google is kicking ass and that should be the wakeup call not a NY Times article. 

Everyone in a big company knows the problems and wants to make massive change (from their perspective) and can summon up textbook advice in the memo.  To actually implement massive change is difficult for large companies.  The solutions from Brad outlined in the memeo actually reminded me of the scene in the movie Back to School where Rodney Dangerfield responds to professor about ‘how to and where to build the widget factory’…and Rodney replies ‘how about fantasyland’.   The only place that Brad’s solutions will be implemented will be in ‘FantasyLand’. 

The reality is that Yahoo is sitting on a massive userbase and talent.  Yahoo needs a ‘Reality based’ solution not some textbook missive that can only be implemented in FantasyLand. 


1. If Elephants can dance, so can Yahoo! « Marketing Nirvana — by Mario Sundar - November 20, 2006

[…] John Furrier at Podtech says: Personally I think that it’s a ‘dead man walking’ memo – he must be one step out the door to write that piece.It felt nothing like leadership or innovation to me. […]

2. Jelly with that Peanut Butter « John Furrier - November 20, 2006

[…] The day after the insiders of the blogosphere talked about the Peanut Butter Manefesto Yahoo announces a landmark deal with newspapers.  The blogs have the story but no one is talking about how this Semel deal flys in the face of the negative post by the Yahoo exec. […]

3. Jeremiah Owyang - November 21, 2006

Some folks suggest that the email was crafted and reviewed internally and intentionally shared with the journal.

With the stock shares plummeting 30% this year, and their primary competitor going up, they need to let shareholders know (or believe) changes are coming.

Continuing down this path leads to a dead end.

4. kettleworx download sale - January 5, 2012

Wow! Thank you! I continually needed to write on my website something like that. Can I take a portion of your post to my website?

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