Sunday, November 19, 2006

Flickr off, Peanut Butter is!

Could the Peanut Butter Manifesto be a hoax? Or does everyone believe it because it's in the WSJ online? If it's not a hoax, is it an attempt to use crowdsourcing to brainstorm ideas for Yahoo's revival? Certainly is a fair amount of chatter in the blogosphere on this Yahoo memo. The memo doesn't strike me as being particularly useful, though. Reminds me of the outside consultants who came in to review employees' roles in the Office Space movie. This quote from the memo seems, well, dumb: "We must reduce our headcount by 15-20%." While Google is increasing its headcount, this Brad Garlinghouse character (senior vice president of TPS reports?) wants to reduce Yahoo's headcount. Maybe Yahoo is simply top-heavy and they need to eliminate layers of SVPs at the top. Looking at recent events like Open Hack Day, I'd say the engineers at the company are doing a fine job, both in terms of technical work and fostering a positive work environment and community beyond the company itself.

I doubt this memo would even exist had Yahoo's Overture acquisition been executed more smoothly. Like Yahoo, Google owns a wide collection of web properties that are floundering. However, they've managed to monetize search so well that the success of that single property far outshines their myriad failures and has allowed the stock price to grow rapidly. Yahoo, on the other hand, is far more diversified, and is actually making money from a range of properties. They own some key web 2.0 properties including Flickr and Had Yahoo's search division integrated Overture more smoothly and executed on expanding both search engine advertising and contextual advertising, like Google has done, that revenue would have pre-empted this generic memo. What's perplexing is that this memo barely mentions search. That's the core business that needs to be firing on all cylinders right now. Seems to me that their other acquisitions are strategic buys for the future. Social media is likely the future revenue generator for Yahoo. Right now, though, it's search. Get that right and nothing else matters. Is the Yahoo Search Marketing upgrade too late? Or is it positioning Yahoo to take market share away from Google? That's what will decide Yahoo's short term future. Not a memo that seeks to fire Yahoo employees.

If you've read this entire blog post, you must need a break. Explore Yahoo's leading social media properties by enjoying a game of Flickr TagMan or TagMan. And, don't read or write memos. Just do something.

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