First task for incoming Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Carol Bartz: Negotiate a search deal with Microsoft (MSFT). But what should be done after the deal goes through (or if it the two companies still can’t come to terms)?
- The rank and file is hangin’ in there, but they are pretty damned fried. Yahoo! is a sweet deal for certain sorts of front end engineer and product developer types, but even the most stalwart (survived 3 layoffs) are starting to look around.
- Last time, the old guard won. Mostly, it’s the old-timers–not the social media kids, the Microsofties, or the start-up animals–who are still there. And they protect their buddies, and their turf. So, remember, they’ve survived LOTS of re-orgs and, like moss, they’re still growing there.
- Yahoo finds it easier to say no to new things, especially if they are a tad R&D or don’t fit into a fiefdom. Flickr photo stock, Brickhouse Privacy Detective–there are lots of good ideas that went unfunded and were let go of because some big gun didn’t want to put his (or her) neck out.
- Yahoo also finds it easier to say no to old things, unless one of those big guns thinks it will advance their careers. My knowledge of Yahoo! Personals is over a year old, but the lack of investment and support for what was always one of the most visited dating sites in the category, with a great rate of return, seemed inexplicable.
- Yahoo! has fads. After all, doesn’t putting all the resources on the next big thing usually result in a great solution? While the exec team doesn’t like to bet on known risk, a couple of cute MBAs with a big slide deck (especially if they are expensive consultants) have been great reasons to do re-orgs and out everyone on new projects that, ultimately, fail to launch (or maybe are still in development, 12 months later, who knows?)
- It’s a great company. For all the crap, and all the silliness, Yahoo! has some amazing people and good will it is hard to let go of.