Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

What Yahoo Needs To Do From A Former Insider...

Posted by Tom Foremski - September 9, 2011

Nate Richardson is President of Gilt City and the former long-time GM of Yahoo Finance. He's got some great suggestions for "What Yahoo Should Do."

He worked at Yahoo from 2000 to 2005.

He writes that Carol Bartz had the right ideas but she wasn't able to deliver a vision that would inspire staff or customers.

He offers three suggestions:

1 - Sell assets such as its China stake in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan. Also, sell Yahoo Sport and Yahoo Finance.

Yahoo! Finance is in desperate need of a new owner: the staff is two times what it was in 2005, while revenue is only one and a quarter times, six years later.

It is still one of the most popular financial sites yet there has been no major launch, redesign or innovation on Yahoo! Finance in six years. Yahoo! Finance would be a valuable asset for Bloomberg to acquire as a feeder site for paid services while they would both benefit from a fit of innovation.

2 - Reduce staff by 50% from 14,000 to 7,000.

Anyone arriving after 9 a.m. and leaving before 5 p.m. more than once a week: OUT

Anyone spending more time with the baristas than at their desk meeting with people from areas of the company that have nothing to do with their business: OUT

Anyone not replying to email within 24 hours 90% of the time: OUT

Anyone working from home more than one day a week, let them start looking for a job. WFHs: OUT

Anyone meeting to "talk about doing" rather than doing, or trying to graft onto a VP, SVP, EVP meeting for airtime more than once a day: OUT

He estimates this simple set of rules could get Yahoo down to 5,000 staff, but that the "5,000 people left were doing the work anyways, now at least they'll get the credit!"

3 - Humility. Yahoo has had too many ego-driven leaders.

The company should focus on great products, innovation, disruption and consumers rather than watching executives publicly take pot-shots at one another; scream about moving a Finance business to L.A. and distract the media by talking about the f-bomb.

The ego-maniacs being thrown about as saviors are stuffed suits and careerists who have spent more time jumping about for their own benefit rather than what matters, which are the consumers and the products.


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