By Sean Maguire
Jerry Yang must be thinking “surely this is a bad dream”, as he runs around like Captain Ahab (as best he can since he’s also standing on one leg), shouting out commands as the Great White Whale charges the ship.
Yesterday, Yang completed a rare “three-peat” in a letter to his underlings (yings):
One for the money
“I’d ask all of you to stay focused on the business at hand and what we do best — transforming the experiences of our users, advertisers, publishers and developers, all while enhancing our leadership position in the online marketplace.”
Two for the show
“In the meantime, we should remain focused on doing what we do best — transforming the experiences of our users, advertisers, publishers and developers, all while enhancing our leadership position in the online marketplace.”
Three says – “Uh Oh!”
“None of us should allow external reports to shift our focus away from doing what we do best — transforming the experiences of our users, advertisers, publishers and developers, all while enhancing our leadership position in the online marketplace.”
No, seriously – he wrote that. It was bad enough that Yang spewed a lame business management mantra – 1980’s style. That he repeated the statement three times in one quasi-press release, Jerry Yang revealed his hand – “Kids – I’m scared”. In a game of poker show and tell, right now Carl Icahn is the show and Jerry just gave his tell.
While some may mock Carl Icahn and a few on his board slate, which includes billionaire Mark Cuban, as being out of touch with the dynamics of Microsoft’s proposed buyout, there is one thing that they are very much in touch with – a stockholder’s primary reason for investing. To make money. For those who think this is just a game, make no mistake – Carl Icahn is “all-in”.
Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not a big Carl Icahn fan boy. He can be a real Moby Dick at times – you know – spouting off and thrashing about. However, one fact remains – he plays the game to win and so far, he seems to have Jerry Yang on the ropes.
Fortunately (for Jerry), this cat may have one more life. I doubt that Steve Ballmer – as much as he’d like to have Yahoo! – in the bag, has no desire to see a prolonged and damaging beating; ala the Democratic primary race. Icahn needs to play the rest of the hand carefully.
Call me Ishmael, but this movie, (or in Jerry Yang’s case – nightmare), has just started. So, give us your best caption, grab some popcorn and pull up a seat. The game is afoot.
Note to Jerry: If you’re ever looking for a good game of Texas Hold’em, give me a call. You’re the kind of guy I love to play poker with!
About Sean Maguire.
Sean Maguire is the Founder and Managing Partner for 360SELL, Inc., an Austin, TX based internet sales and marketing consulting firm. Sean has over 20 years experience working with venture funded startups through Fortune 500 industry leaders.