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?

Yahoo Going Open at the Yahoo Press Open House

Kara Swisher is at the Yahoo event back in the trenches live blogging the Yahoo even.t Thanks Kara. Love the title of her post – Liveblogging From Yahoo’s “Open House”: Open Ads, Open Mobile, Open Open!

Guest what the theme is for the Yahoo makeover? A) Open, B) Open, C) Open, or D) All of the Above?

I wrote in January that Yahoo just go open. Glad Jerry and team have been working hard to followup from that post. Bout time guys and gals.

If Yahoo is so open why is this such a closed event?

Love the line Yahoo was open before it was cool.

Intel Yahoo Announce Platform for Web TV

Intel and Yahoo announced a partnership (also with Comcast) that they will be providing the embedded technology for set top boxes to provide widget for a TV environment. I’m here at IDF and had a chance to talk to a few Intel super geeks and basically it’s all vapor at the moment. It’s mainly a developer oriented showcase so it’s not meant to be a shipping product. The demo they are showing is very sexy but it’s vapor – at least for now.

The demo really shows the benefit of the user experience. The notion of having prefabricated widgets coming from Yahoo will make for a compelling experience. What’s more interesting is the idea that users or families will be able to create their own widgets. I can see this really working well for parents putting together microcontent widgets for their kids – a kinda set top box playlist concept.

So as of today it’s concept and this offering should attract developers with the open architecture. The Intel guy said that developers can integrate any clients side innovation directly into the stack. This makes sense for emerging areas that need innovation – like video acceleration and other problem areas like managing the storage issues. Today big video content providers have to to store multiple file formats like Flash, Windows, and Silverlight. This is a big problem and generates a ton of costs. At least the CDNs can make more money.

I love this concept with the Intel set top box and think that this is where Yahoo needs to be successful. By pushing out content from their system to the edge the users are happy. Yahoo goes to where the users are instead of today where Yahoo makes the users come to them.

The question in my mind is what is the video user experience like when there are so many problems in delivering video over the Internet (speed, cost, concurrency).

Yahoo is Falling Apart – Please Clean House Before You Slip Away

As Yahoo twists in the “corporate governance” wind (Kara Swisher has all the latest details at ATD), the company is falling apart.   Yahoo is a sad story these days – it’s slipping away.  People are leaving left and right.  However the real problems are two fold:  1) the wrong people are leaving and 2) public brand perception is plummeting.

On the people side it’s not the executives leaving that a problem – hell half the execs need to go.  The issue at hand is good ‘workers’ and “teams” of talent are leaving.  Why?  It’s easier to take a team out and start a new company or work for another company.  All the stars are continuing to leave.   A source from inside Yahoo recently told me that the only work getting done is powerpoint slides.  In fact my source said “the way to survive and get promoted at Yahoo is to master the “powerpoint” presentation. ”

On the user and marketplace side the fact is it’s not cool to use Yahoo anymore.  I guess that Yahoo will own the market or franchise on the 60-something user market market – the people who have been locked into all Yahoo’s Web 1.0 stickiness tactics.  Yahoo needs to do things differently.

I am a big fan of Yahoo and what it has meant to the progress of the Web, but it’s time to clean house.  I mean really clean house.  Get “mavericks” who can look beyond powerpoints and deliver product value.

Yahoo is slipping away.

Yahoo Launches Delicious 2.0 – Does Anyone Care?

Yahoo launched Delicious 2.0 according to Mike at Techcrunch this morning.

Loved this quote from Mike’s story with the founder who recently left Yahoo.. Mike writes ..“it’s too bad Delicious 2.0 couldn’t launch before founder Joshua Schachter left the company in frustration. I called Schachter to ask him what he has to say about the new launch. His response – “Good luck. I hope it goes well.”

Does anyone care? The first version was a hit with early adopters but just didn’t seem to cross over to mainstream like what Twitter has done. After Yahoo bought it things just went south.

My take is that Yahoo has to make this a mainstream easy to use service and integrate it into their core traffic stream.

I hope it goes well and the service gets better. I never used it after it launched. If it has better usability then I’ll get back on the bandwagon.

Update: lots of interest in this story.. Mathew Ingram has a great comment thread over on his blog worth checking out.

Overall I’m in general agreement with the sentiment that I never use or rarely look at bookmarks. It certainly isn’t the ideal form of navigation. However I think that “marking” stuff is a good data collector or feed creation mechanism for new intelligent engines being designed. See my Twitter Business Model post .. (note: the twitter post was a very targeted post and has some hidden gems in there – worth decoding)

HP Delivers on March Announcement – Nice Job – How Can I Leverage This?

HP speed and execution has often been compared to an aircraft carrier, but not in this case.  HP moves fast with the announcement of the gobal cloud research initiative. Last March I was predicting that HP Labs would move in this direction.  Well they did and fast.

This shows me that HP can move fast on their promises and with some sizzle and steak.  The partnerships of Intel and Yahoo show some real meat on the bone.  I’m not expecting any massive products soon out of this initiative but certainly some innovation.

The test bed will initially consist of six centers of excellence at IDA facilities, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Steinbuch Centre for Computing of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, HP Labs, Intel Research and Yahoo!. Each location will host a cloud computing infrastructure, largely based on HP hardware and Intel processors, and will have 1,000 to 4,000 processor cores capable of supporting the data-intensive research associated with cloud computing. The test bed locations are expected to be fully operational and made accessible to researchers worldwide through a selection process later this year.

The test bed will leverage Yahoo!s technical leadership in open source projects by running Apache Hadoop — an open source, distributed computing project of the Apache Software Foundation — and other open source, distributed computing software such as Pig, the parallel programming language developed by Yahoo! Research.

With this test bed, not only can researchers test applications at Internet scale, they will also have access to the underlying computing systems to advance understanding of how systems software and hardware function in a cloud environment.

Researchers at HP Labs, the central research arm of HP, will use the test bed to conduct advanced research in the areas of intelligent infrastructure and dynamic cloud services.

This has a kind of DARPA feel to it.  I have many questions.  How will it be organized?  What will prevent it from becoming ‘vendorland’ of hidden agendas?  How can I as an entrepreneur use it?  What is the requirement to participate?

Final question:  Where is Google and Microsoft on this?

Movin On – Thank God It’s Over – Lame Duck Ichan Yields to Yang and Yahoo

Cofounder of Yahoo Jerry Yang can now get down to business. The Carl Icahn takeover saga is finally over. Icahn joins Yahoo’s board. I guess Carl has a lot of shares but his ‘lame duck’ board seat is a consolation prize for technologies version of “The Price is Right”. He lost. Last week we saw a final knock out blow to Icahn had him down for the count. Now we have peace.

“While I continue to believe that the sale of the whole company or the sale of its search business in the right transaction must be given full consideration, I share the view that Yahoo’s valuable collection of assets positions it well to continue expanding its online leadership and enhancing returns to stockholders,” Mr. Icahn said in the statement. “I believe this is a good outcome and that we will have a strong working relationship going forward.”

Finally Yahoo can get down to business and get the legal bull from Wall Street off their back. Expect a fast resolution to a Microsoft deal or other transaction (hmm AOL..). Yahoo has to move on now and get back to competing.

The market is in the toilet and Yahoo’s cofounder Jerry Yang is in charge again. Lets hope cofounder Jerry has some magic left.