We recently had a series of candid conversations with Yahoo executives about the state of the company.Because these people do not want to get fired, they asked to stay anonymous.
Here are our takeaways:
- Inside Yahoo, it feels like the board plans to wait out Carl Bartz’s contract instead of replacing her soon. “A year goes by really fast.”
- Even though she’s not long for the job, Bartz doesn’t get enough credit for cutting Yahoo’s costs and upgrading its various company-wide systems. “She’s been doing the hard, dirty work.”
- That said, Bartz is bad for Yahoo recruiting and Yahoo M&A. “She’s not a strategist. She’s not a big industry heavyweight that gets people to sell their companies here.”
- It also doesn’t help that Yahoo’s board is a “completely passive, detached, out of touch with reality board. I’m not sure Jerry could have f—ed up the business anymore. “
- Also, a lot of systems work still needs to be done. “Every system is 10 years old.”
- Morale remains low: “There is 10 years of brain damage here. It’s as bad as I’ve seen at any company I’ve ever been in.”
- New ad sales boss Wayne Powers is not helping the morale problem. “He’s not a warm and fuzzy rah-rah. He’s not a Tim Armstrong.”
- But despite some sales “attrition,” Powers is bringing something new and needed to Yahoo – “accountability.” Before he came, there weren’t “month-to-date” and “quarter-to-date” “actionables.” “Carol wanted a serious, seasoned hard core executive.” That’s Powers, who is “decisive” and “holding people accountable.”
- The search deal with Microsoft should stop being a drag in 6 to 9 months. Apparently the problem has been the size of Yahoo’s customer base. “No one understood. [Microsoft] just could not prepared for the /yahoo volume. “
- The whole thing about Yahoo’s sales technology holding Yahoo sales people back? It’s true. “Can I plead the 5th? We’re throwing bodies at the problem. At the end of the day, we need to get on sell. More people have to get the shit running rather than get out and sell.”
- Insiders finally feel a sense of cohesion about what Yahoo is – a “premium digital media network.”
- What went wrong? On a macro level, former Yahoo CEO Terry Semel had it right with his media company strategy, “but they got so spooked because Google blew up so quickly and Wall Street got spooked. I don’t think they have the courage to say – you know what, we have the right strategy.”
We’re keen to hear more. Contact [email protected] or 646.376.6014.
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