Yahoo’s 1/3 Mentality

It’s been almost 10-years since I left Yahoo, but with the recent public decline of the company, combined with the acquisition of the business by Verizon, I’m still asked for my feedback and thoughts.

My answer is always the same and here it is.

Yahoo was content getting 1/3 of an ad budget. They were fine letting Google, Microsoft, AOL, and others pick up the other 66%. It was a belief that permeated through the culture. The culture didn’t want to kill the competition, it wanted to co-exist. It wasn’t 100% of the organization, but it was enough.

Eventually 1/3 became 1/4, which became 1/5, which became 1/10, which became 1/20. It’s still declining. It’s sad.

Much has been written about the importance of killing your competition. We had 800-million users and should have had 50% or 60% of the advertising industry (or more).

We should have killed LinkedIn with HotJobs, we should have killed Facebook before it even got out of college campuses. We should have sucked the oxygen out of the entire online ad industry. We shouldn’t have been content.

If ifs and buts were candies and nuts…

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