Carol Bartz didn’t rule out the possibility of private equity taking over Yahoo at some point.
Speaking at the Web 2.0 conference Bartz basically kept her mouth shut when asked about private equity interest in Yahoo.
We’re not saying she encouraged people to think Yahoo is interested in being taken over, but she could have just dismissed the talk altogether and called it nonsense.
The closest she came to that was saying, “I love being a public CEO.”
Other than that, her talk was rather uneventful save for a funny word association game at the end.Here’s the transcription of the word game:
When I say Apple what comes to mind? Beatles.
HP? Where’s Leo?
Google? Great company…ha ha ha.
Below is our original post, and live notes from her talk:
Carol Bartz is scheduled to talk at the Web 2.0 conference at 5 PM eastern.
We’re going to be live blogging it, it should be exciting. Bartz is a good talker, and the relatively moribund company is in an exciting spot right now.
We’ll hear what Bartz has to say about all that shortly!
5:00: Band of Horses is playing as people take their seats. As always folks, typos could be ahead, only things in quotes are direct quotes. We will put our opinions/takes in parenthesis.
5:03: Here we go…John Battelle takes the stage. And here’s Carol.
5:04: Carol wearing a deep purple. “I’m a purple person.”
Can you tell us waht is Yahoo? I can. I got it. You know, I um…it has interested me. I think Yahoo is a simple story. Technical, innovative…largest content and communications company in the world.
5:05: I think Yahoo has always stood for those words. You have to talk about innovation, you have to talk about technology. You have to talk about media if you talk about Yahoo. It went off track a bit when people thought it was a search company.
5:06: Search is half our business, but now we can do it well (thanks to MSFT.) Search is a big arms race. Algo has a big set of problems, then on paid side, you’re in a constant battle to increase RPS, and forecast better. It’s a big maths problem.
5:07: MSFT can spend the CapEx now that we’re partners.
5:08: JB: What happened to Yahoo? What is it now? CB: Yahoo stands for fun. I was interviewed on CNBC when Yahoo went public, this kind of nasty woman…she said what do you think of that company with that funny name? I said “Yahoo for them!” I thought oif that when I joined, because I was there when they started and east coast was sneering.
Yahoo has stood for fun, relevance, and putting context. Now, has it had a few rough years? Sure. But you’re not tested as a company unless you face some challenges.
5:11: Yahoo is always a trusted place. People know they’re coming to Yahoo. It’s our job to bring them more and more content. Yahoo pages were too static for too long. They need to be more interactive. Very interactive, very interesting.
Right now, we serve 6 million different front pages based on different user preferences, based on data, machine learning, and some editorial — like breaking news. Like an oil spill for instance.
5:13: Right now we have the largest ad network. We serve up 18 billion ads a day on our sites and our affiliates.
5:16: We are looking at helping people manage their content and ecosystem — what are these people crawling around for. Carol says “I have the Yahoo 15,” (a cute weight joke she made after closing her coat when she learned people were taking photos of her.)
5:17: What about Google? You said they have to grow a Yahoo a year, it’s a different environment, do you aspire to that? Well of course, who wouldn’t want to be Google? But we’re not Google, we’re Yahoo. That’s one of the first things I had to do when I got here was explain, we’re not Google. “Google is this company, and Yahoo is this company.”
5:19: When you get out of New York and Silicon Valley people know what Yahoo is, they “don’t ask these trick questions, ‘What is Yahoo'”. I’m never asked this elsewhere in the country.
5:20: Will you create a Yahoo social graph? You know social is a word that has been around a long long time. The idea it is only one kind of social is wrong. Facebook is a great company, but email is social, all kinds of ways to be social. Games, Twitter, we’re not trying to copy anybody, we’re trying to be social in a Yahoo way. We’re trying to aggregate experiences around the web in one place at Yahoo.
5:22: Do you have designs on creating a Yahoo connect? One thing Yahoo should have done a long time ago is accept any log in, Google Facebook whatever, it would allow us to play in the eco system and it would give us information.
5:24: You know so much about users because they travel through your sites and around the web, strikes me you could create Yahoo value added identity, are you considering that? We could do that…a big priority its been siloed in sports, finance, just how the company was. (Each section kept to its own.) We can worry about the steps your talking about when we get our own data in order.
5:25: We’re travelling up 101 and changing the tires at Yahoo.
5:26: JB: I want to ask about talent, a lot of steam about people leaving, we have a war for talent, why would engineer — are you giving a raise like Google? CB: No. Actually it’s 15% raise — not really (har har har). JB: Why would anyone go to Yahoo? CB: I’ve been here a long time, first of all, you can never beat an IPO if they’re given an interesting job. People don’t want to be 1 of 15,000 smart kids. They want to know they can work on large data sets and problems. No, we don’t have an IPO, but we have a stock, I think it’s going to go up…I’m not supposed to say that. We have a lot of fascinating jobs at Yahoo.
5:29: rumours of PE buyout, so you wouldn’t have to be a public CEO? I love being a public CEO. Once you understand the job, by the way do I like every analyst, employee? No. Do I like my husband all the time? No.
5:30: (Pressing her on PE…and she says nothing.)
5:31: What would it take to get rid of Alibaba? We have no interest in getting rid of Alibaba. One of the first rules as a public CEO you can’t talk about mergers, etc. Now on Alibaba, Yahoo was smart to put a billion on Jack Ma and let him operate. It has turned into many billions. We get credit for it in the stock market. We’d get more credit if it were liquid.
5:33: Increasingly as people understand China, we get credit for our strategic decision to invest without risk.
Would AOL make sense? Always easy to do would could should, but I would.
5:34: Acquisition strategy? Groupon? This morning we announced a deal platform with partners in the coupon space. As for acquisitions — 1. get technology and talent, 2 is to get content, 3rd is to acquire users.
5:35: Content? I’m interested in tail content. How do you ensure the quality? It’s a technology of how you manage 4,000 writers. It was impressive to see a demonstration of their backend. (talking about Associated Content.)
5:37: Demand Media thoughts? I’m happy Richard is putting a spotlight on a real viable grow engine for the internet.
5:38: What is your plan for Yahoo widgets on TV? Yahoo widgets a very interesting thing a small team did for us. I love what the team did and I love Biz Dev was hand in hand. Since then, Google TV, Apple TV, whoever’s TV, all this is changing. Now were trying to think about best way to operate is. Is it API? Something else? It could change.
5:40: Now it’s time for word association:
When I say Apple what comes to mind? Beatles
HP? Where’s Leo?
Google? Great company…ha ha ha.
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