My personal blogging philosophy is to not comment upon internal company matters and I would keep it that way. However, I would say in the passing that I love Yahoo’s peanut butter – past a few lumps! There are a few companies in the internet world that have the leadership positions that Yahoo! has — 1st or 2nd position in several product categories — Mail, Messenger, Finance, Search…It is an enviable position that Google, AOL, or MSN would kill to have. The main area that several folks (including well-wishers of Yahoo!) wish things were different (and I agree) is in the area of Search Monetization.
Yes, Google has stirred the attention of everyone by showing stunning revenue growth based 99% on Search. It is admirable. It is worth the recognition. What is *slightly* unfair is to kick *everything* about Yahoo! as non-innovative or unworthy, etc. We still have to see how Panama performs. The coolness of Yahoo! — for me is the readiness to take all the criticism and go on the road to fixing the search monetization problem with Panama.
What is super cool for me as a Yahoo is the incredible opportunity to work at a company that gets it right most of the time — from mail to messaging to getting Answers from people and sharing photos (Flickr). Where else on the planet would you find so many smart people running world class products and working on the vision to organize the lives of people — information included? Its a tougher challenge being a Life Engine to the world.
As I have posted a few times, Google with all its success with Search is yet to find a similar leadership position in other product categories. GMail is yet to pick up big time. Several folks (non Yahoos) I have informally talked with – tend to use Gmail for getting newsletters and use their Yahoo Mail id for email. GTalk hasn’t matched the spread of Yahoo! Messenger. Google Maps has been a hit — although nowhere as big as Google Search. Google (should and it) continues to look for other opportunities outside search — from home page personalization to finance to checkout. Multiple opportunities that Yahoo! has already hit big with.
Is the Yahoo! peanut butter spread too thin? Maybe. But I enjoy the Yahoo! peanut butter and I think better Search monetization (like Google’s) would have not evoked the current criticism. No company or human being is perfect. Success just hides the flaws.
I passionately admire the fun-spirit and humor with which several of my Yahoo! colleagues have taken Brad Garlinghouse’s peanut butter memo. There is much valid questioning there. Yahoo like all companies can improve. However, at the end of the day we are all proud Yahoos — committed to open questioning and self-examination. We are committed to Yahoo!’s customers & communities, to the spirit of excellence, teamwork, & innovation. We can always do better. No company is perfect and if our Search Monetization hits it right — the press world would be singing Yahoo!’s praises again; as easily as it does for the well-loved Google. And btw: if Google’s financial growth slows down I can bet that bloggers and press will immediately jump up and say — “oh! these guys are just geeky PhD’s — they can’t succeed beyond a Search algorithm, their peanut butter isn’t well spread.”
Fortunately, I believe, both Yahoo! and Google are focused beyond the short term. Ups and downs will keep coming for the economy and for every company.