So Jerry Yang has stepped down as CEO of Yahoo! This is no surprise. Yahoo! has been floundering for quite some time, and Jerry’s much-vaunted return did not have the same results as the Steve Jobs or Michael Dell Parts Deux.
In many ways Yang had a much easier job than either Jobs or Dell, but he still punted it. Dell hasn’t lit the world on fire, but you don’t see him getting creamed by the press at every turn. Yang went mano a mano against a carnivorous Steve Ballmer and made just about every wrong move in the book. Now, I never really understood the MSFT/YHOO merger idea at all anyway. MSFT really should be focused on the cloud thing as the future of the platform and apps business and let the ad business swirl around them. Steve’s not listening to me anyway, but my gut tells me Microsoft should extend their value proposition along the lines of strenght.
So, here’s my recommendation for Yahoo! Hire someone who doesn’t feel inferior about themselves. Yahoo is arguably the most undervalued property on the web because they are too focused on competitors and not focused enough on customers.
Yahoo search is okay, pouring billions into competing with Google is just stupid. Yahoo content – with their Sports, Finance and other great properties – is the crown jewel. Partner for search if needed – and just keep sucking away at whatever value proposition is left in the newspaper business. Who needs the Boston Globe if Yahoo can get better at local content.
Start with Yahoo! today, add a regional focus much like Craigslist (http://boston.yahoo.com anyone?), and hire local writers and editors to stoke the engine. Sports, money (perhaps buy the bizjournals.com businesses?), jobs, news, culture, etc.
Yahoo could pwn the Globe and all other regional properties. They could even use some technology to allow people to create their own “morning paper” that can be assembled into a PDF and printed at home (for those who like to have the paper in their hands).
Okay, Yahoo – hire me for CEO!