Wall Street, the media, and the blogs are unanimous in their view that the management exodus at Yahoo! (YHOO) this week is a terrible thing and shows the the company is in shambles. The rats are leaving the sinking ship, as it were.
I’ll take the opposite side of that argument because someone has to.
Jeff Weiner, Usama Fayyad, Qi Lu, Brad Garlinghouse, Vish Makhijani, Caterina Fake, Joshua Schachter, and Stewart Butterfield are all talented people who will be missed. I know quite a few of these people and I would love to have the opportunity to work with them in the future.
But the truth is Yahoo! needs some new blood in its executive ranks. That new blood can come from within the company or from outside the company.
Yahoo! probably needs more people to leave in the coming months, particularly senior people who have been around for a long time. And it needs to reach into its organisation and tap people on their shoulders and say ‘its your time to step up’. And it needs to go find some new leadership who can bring talent with them.
Yahoo has over 500 million worldwide unique visitors a month. It has massive reach. It has massive scale. There is no reason it cannot and will not be an important business going forward.
It needs to focus on monetization, rationalizing its products and services, and making money, lots of it
All of this is still very possible. But its clearly a turnaround of sorts and needs to be approached that way.
The best turnaround people I know start with a challenge to the team. “Are you ready to dig deep and work really hard for the next five years to get this thing working again? If yes, let’s do it. If no, then you have to leave now.” That’s what is happening at Yahoo! and it can be a very good thing.
SAI contributor Fred Wilson is a partner at Union Square Ventures. He writes the influential A VC, where this post was originally published.
See Also: Time To Stem The Yahoo Bleed, Jerry