Is Yahoo Being Served Silicon Valley Divorce Papers ? It Needs Big Game Changing Product

I’ve been thinking about the Jerry Yang conversation yesterday with John Batelle and it hit me – Yahoo has for years being the outsider in Silicon Valley. The recent blog and press coverage of Jerry’s comments yesterday make it clear that the core culture in Silicon Valley is frustrated with Yahoo and by default Jerry Yang.

Two posts stand out in my mind that got me thinking about this. Mike Arrington’s post and Om Malik’s post (other coverage is basically saying the same thing) speak to the core feelings about Yahoo.  I know both Mike and Om love Yahoo for it’s storied history, but like they and others (me included) are frustrated by the bungled execution.

What’s really going on here?  Yahoo losted a ton of great people in the years that it milked it’s dominant portal status.  That is compounded by a misdirection in strategy one that during the Semel years (the media focus) saw Yahoo lose many of their top product and engineering mavericks.  Innovation is the culture of Silicon Valley and Yahoo lost that years ago.  The recent pile on going down is just built up frustration by Silicon Valley on Yahoo and Jerry Yang is taking all the heat.

I’m pulling for Jerry Yang because I respect the ‘guts’ that it takes for the founder to come back.  It’s very noble of Jerry, but trying to transform his company into a platform player will take years.  It will take new leadership underneath Jerry.  Fact is they just don’t have the ‘chops’ on the product and engineering side.  Silicon Valley wants nothing to do with a ‘false’ prophet.  Jerry needs to move faster or the ‘mob’ will take them down (as Mike Arrington suggests).

Turning the Yahoo battleship will take time.  All Yahoo needs is one game changing new product.  This reminds me of the old minicomputer days.  Yahoo is the Digital Equipment Corp (DEC) of Web 2.0.  They’ve been on this portal and media thing why to long (similar to DEC on the minicomputer) – it might be too late. Some minicomputer companies like HP got new relevant products (hello LaserJet) that fueled a reinvention.

If Yahoo doesn’t get the new product and engineering mojo back Silicon Valley and others will completely turn on Yahoo.

It’s doable for Yahoo due to their ‘huge’ installed base of users, but the window is closing. They need a new product that is relevant – a new flagship.

Run Jerry Run!  Get it done.

I would love to see the founder take back his company and make the turn around.  The question is “do they have the people to do it”?  Silicon Valley doesn’t thinks so.

I’m not convinced yet of Yahoo’s demise and will wait to judge Yahoo.  I think that they can. I vote for the founder to stay – Jerry should stay, but he needs a new management team that will follow the founder in his vision.  I blame Semel not Jerry.

What do you think that they need to do?

Author: John

Entrepreneur living in Palo Alto California and the Founder of SiliconANGLE Media

3 thoughts on “Is Yahoo Being Served Silicon Valley Divorce Papers ? It Needs Big Game Changing Product”

  1. Jerry’s arrogant, not noble. His arrogance has been the downfall of Yahoo from killing the MSFT deal to not being able to close the partnership with GOOG.

  2. Alex,
    Kara Swisher has a great post which talks about some of the same things that I am seeing

    http://kara.allthingsd.com/20081106/meet-the-internets-human-pinata-jerry-yang/

    Yahoo has been in a free fall under the Semel regime. It should be noted that a crew of innovators tried to reboot Yahoo (brickhouse, web 2.0 young execs, ..etc ) but it never made it and many left do to the powerpoint mentality of Yahoo. My sources all have said that the most coding was done on powerpoint slides verses actual product.

    Jerry needs to get the troops building and get a marketing guy to show the world what it means for users, developers, advertisers, and stockholders… basically he need to show that Yahoo is relevant. So far that is the biggest issue for me. Yahoo needs to go to it’s roots

    I hope to get Jerry Yang on an interview to learn more.

    Hey Jerry: I’m in Palo Alto just ping me and we’ll do a podcast.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s