Bartz Blows Into Town, Change Comes To Yahoo


Except for the good news about the search-share stabilisation, it has been quiet at Yahoo for the last few weeks.  But change has come to the place.  And judging by Carol Bartz’s two latest Friday memos, it’s all good.

Kara Swisher, who obtained the memos and analyses them here, also says that a major reorg will be announced next Wednesday. We’ll hit that in the next post. 

Here are Carol’s memos (highlighting and annotation ours).  The straight-talk thing is working for us. As are the little aw-shucks notes at the end.

February 13:

A great illustration of my need for speed. [Right there she has nailed Yahoo’s biggest problem.]

Had a big staff meeting this week. We spent all day Monday and Tuesday reviewing our strategies and major products on both the audience and advertising sides. It was a great introduction for me and even an eye-opener for the entire team when they realised that many of these strategies and products hadn’t been delved into in a long time (a big thanks to all the presenters who worked so hard):

· We talked a lot about the importance of having a WOW experience for all of our users around the world. As an example, we are delaying the launch of Metro [new front page] until we feel it will be a great product for our users.

· Similarly, we discovered that we are losing mail share to the competition in many slower-bandwidth, emerging markets so we have made a decision to remove mail ads in those countries to improve the user experience. This will mean a drop in revenue for us but it’s the right thing to do strategically.

· We have also decided to “perfect” APT! in the US and only one international market before we roll it out globally. [slowing roll-out of Sue Decker’s ad platform]

· And finally, my favourite–we are assembling a list of products that we are embarrassed about for various reasons so we can make the important decision as to whether we fix them or discontinue them. [Love it!]

What does this have to do with the need for speed? Many of the things I just talked about could have and should have been decided earlier but we haven’t been an organisation that has embraced the need for speedy decisions, even when they are the tough ones. We can all be part of changing this and getting back to an organisation that is fast on its feet.

On a personal note, thanks to Team Texas Sales for the Purple Cowboy wine and the Care centre Service Desk in Oshkosh for the Wisconsin bag of goodies–my favourite were the cheese curds!

Judy and I went to URLs today and made Valentine’s for our sweeties–everybody remember yours so we can all have a big Yahoo! Valentine’s Day. I’m off to Pebble Beach tomorrow to meet, entertain and play golf with some of our biggest customers. Actually, it’s a great strategy because normally you have to “let” the customer win – fortunately, this is not a problem for me!


February 20:

My week started last Friday down at the AT&T golf tournament where we hosted many of our important U.S. customers and partners. I thought I’d use this week’s note to give you some impressions:

First, I really want to congratulate Joanne Bradford’s team for hosting and running a first-class event. I know many of you in the company have absolutely no idea what happens in our regions or what salespeople do for a living (in fact, my past history has shown me that the way most engineers perceive salespeople is as lightweight, backslapping meeters and greeters). In fact, I’m delighted to report that Yahoo! has an A+ sales team. I watched them in action with customers such as Pepsi–it was clear they had the respect and trust of the customer and represented all of us Yahoos very well. It was very interesting to learn how creative our salespeople are in helping our clients devise interesting and profitable campaigns. I received a lot of compliments about how well-supported these customers and partners felt. Likewise, it was very clear to me that they support Yahoo! in return and very much want us to succeed.

Hey, that doesn’t mean they think we’re perfect! They had several ideas about our products and how we could do better, especially in this tough economic environment. This plays right into our focus on excellence and great products.

Last week I told you we were going to have our first pass at deciding which products embarrass us as a company. Kudos to Allen Olivo and his team for worrying that one of you might leak my email, so instead he called it the “Brand Pride List.” Whatever, the point is still important and we had a great discussion on which products to stop and which to make a lot better. More to follow…

I realise this is a very U.S.-centric message but that’s because I spent three days with U.S. customers. Just wait until I blow through Europe in April–I’ll be sharing all sorts of European goodies with you! And yes, I am going to Asia as well–we just haven’t settled on the date yet.

My husband is out of town this weekend, so I‘m looking forward to watching all the “chick flicks” that he refuses to watch with me. I hope you all have a fun weekend. Get well-rested, because next week’s a biggie.