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How Do You Save Yahoo from Sinking When the Crew Abandons Ship?




"Most people who don’t get the decision see Yahoo as merely an abbreviation on the NASDAQ ticker. The people who have poured their blood sweat and tears into building that brand do not." Terry Howard.

Marketing Pilgrim reader Terry Howard had a valid point, when commenting on my post about what Yahoo had given up, when it opted for Google over Microsoft. He actually had me thinking–maybe a deal with Google really does favor the employees, who’ve worked their butt off to get where they are today.

Then?

Then those same employees started leaving Yahoo–in droves!

  • Brad Garlinghouse – author of the infamous "Peanut Butter Manifesto" memo.
  • Vish Makhijani – general manager of Yahoo’s Web search business.
  • Qi Lu – the top engineer for Yahoo’s Panama search marketing platform.
  • Jeremy Zawodny – developer network evangelist.
  • Jeff Weiner – executive vice president of Yahoo’s network division.
  • Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake – co-founders of Flickr

Those are just the ones we know about, or are high-profile enough to make the news. Of course, Yahoo is spinning this into a major (positive) reorganization:

"We have a deep and talented management team across all areas of the company," Yahoo said in a statement. "We continue to recruit outstanding talent."

Yeah, but in the meantime your top talent is leaving faster than you can recruit. I’m about out of answers for Yahoo. It almost feels like I’m kicking someone when they’re already down. If you see a light at the end of the tunnel, leave a comment and let me know.

  • http://www.futurefactory-software.com Warenwirtschaft

    Sorry, no light visible from my point of view. I think we have to get used to the idea that yahoo will get down faster than anyone can imagine. Why is there no liabililty for stupid managers? The arguments they offered for joining google are so weak that one wonders what really happened behind the scenes.

  • http://www.otlacan.com Otilia Otlacan

    I wonder what is the average employee length of stay in Yahoo… the industry standard seems to be somewhere around 2-3 years, especially in online operations (a bit more in the engineering departments though). In my opinion, the biggest loss is that of knowledge, and not necessarily talent, something that even companies like Yahoo do not seem to understand. When you feel your management is serving you pink rainbows and tells you how great the company does while you know that’s far from the truth, what’s there left to do but leave? There will always be greener pastures :-)

    Otilia Otlacan’s last blog post..June 20 – Top 5 Advertising, Media and Marketing Headlines

  • http://www.terryhoward.net/ Terry Howard

    Yeah, and I was thinking about this some after reading Jeremy Z’s blog on his decision. I think part of still is that it’s all up in the air. Even though the deal seems to be dead, most of these moves must have been initiated during the period of time when the deal was very much a possibility. With stock holders still threatening to press legal action and the whole environment of uncertainty (who knows who else will pop up to try a hostile takeover) you can’t blame people for using this as a reason to see what new salary options might await them.

    Terry Howard’s last blog post..Blaming Yourself is Healthy

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    @Terry – I agree, these decisions were probably made a long time ago.

  • http://www.poems.md Ashley

    Andy, my opinion coinsides with yours ;)

  • WD

    “who knows who else will pop up to try a hostile takeover”

    But then wouldn’t you want to stay around for that sweeeeeet severance package?

    Many people are borderline ‘should I stay or should I go’ wherever they are. It just takes something to clarify your view of the pros and cons of either decision. It could just as much be Yang’s response to MS (severance package, Google deal, etc) rather than the MS offer itself that started the exodus. Who knows what internal discussions occurred or internal projects that were “re-focused” in the dealings that may have made a future outside the company brighter than one inside.

  • http://foolishmumbles.com Top Rated

    The only thing good about this at this point, is that it will eventually come to an end. Resolution is what they need, so they can move on and put that fine piece of virtual real estate called Yahoo.com back to work.

    Top Rated’s last blog post..Absolutely The Best Point And Shoot Digital Camera

  • http://www.netage.co.za Goran Web Design

    I think that Yahoo still has a fight in them. People who wish to leave are not the people that are needed on this team.

  • http://www.deemx.com DeeMX

    Yahoo is great company, but it have a difficult period for business today.