Opinion: How to fix Yahoo!

It’s been a while since Yahoo mattered much. You hear about it every once in a while in the news, usually about an attempted take-over or how irrelevant it’s become and how much money it’s hemorrhaging. Over the last few days they’ve actually had some positive press. For the first time in a long time they’ve made a really great choice. They’ve hired Marissa Mayer as their CEO. Mayer is a very intelligent woman who is one of the first 20 or so employees of Google. It’s big news.

I wrote off Yahoo years ago. I figured they had their time and were easily replaced by the likes of Google and other forward-thinking companies. It seemed Yahoo had stalled out. Occasionally they’d do something smart, like buy Flickr but they’d always mess that up too. When’s the last time Flickr was relevant? Yahoo basically bought a great innovative product it and never did anything with it, letting the competition catch up and surpass it.

I’m hopeful that Mayer can turn things around. What I’ve read about her it seems she has the smarts, the leadership and vision to turn it into something useful again. I’m no expert but I have a few opinions on Yahoo. If I were in her shoes I’d concentrate on making Yahoo do one thing really well instead of 60 things just ok. They’ve got a huge portfolio of products but none of them are outstanding. A few of them are decent and if resources were re-arranged and concentrated to those products, they could become great.

Yahoo isn’t going to be Google. It’s just not. We don’t need it to be and they shouldn’t fizzle into oblivion trying to be. I think they just need to re-focus and narrow in on a few things to do. Becoming a news portal or beefing up Flickr to be creative again could be a couple of ways to improve. I just hope Mayer isn’t afraid to really shake things up. It’d be a shame to see such an iconic company such as Yahoo fade away but it needs a lot of work and radical change to survive. I wish you the best of luck Marissa, I truly hope you and Yahoo can succeed.

One thought on “Opinion: How to fix Yahoo!”

  1. Your comment on the fall of flickr, hits it right on the spot. They never did anything with it. I agree with your thinking. You have to really shake it up to do anything. I question, will it matter in the long run? Would it be like shaking up some old pasta-plate that you forgot to finish from the night before? If you shake up shit, all you will get is more shit.

    I know that sounds bold, but unless they ditch the name, Yahoo, I don’t think they will ever gain popularity. Yahoo, in my opinion one horrible brand-recognition, even to say their brand-recognition is the basis of many jokes.

    That will be hard to over-come. It’s like McDonalds with the salad-craze of the 90’s. No matter what you do, McDonalds will forever be thought of unhealthy, grease-filled patties.

    End to end. I question whether Yahoo has already fizzled away or not. I believe they have. But nothing is more “hip” right now than resurrecting the dead.

    Reminds me of JCPenny’s recent hire, from an ex-Apple creative director for its’ branding: http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/jcpenney_nails_the_american_look.php

    Good post.

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