In my opinion, saving Yahoo is not going to be “easy,” bringing it back to a point where it can once again compete with the likes of Google and Twitter (which shouldn’t be hard at all, considering Twitter’s profits aren’t that great, either) but there are so many paths to take, so many options to explore in terms of strategy, and the company still has so many strong legs to stand on that it truly makes its current state very puzzling to me:
How could a company with so many holdings, so much brand recognition, so many assets and divisions, be so heavily trafficked, yet be in such a state that its profits are in the negative - and have been for years?
And now, its Board of Directors are essentially acting as though their “wunderkind” from less than a year ago, is now personna non grata, basically not even there any more, with her dismissal (and subsequent “golden parachute”) a forgone conclusion.
Melissa Myer, the CEO of Yahoo, famously used Yahoo assets and capital to buy up startups and (potential) competitors like a sailor on shore leave; dismantling them as soon as they were purchased and doing absolutely nothing with their offerings (when even a blind man could see the thing to do would be to use their offerings to bolster your own - not throw them away).
My question (if they were to ever entertain questions from the public, which I doubt) to the Board of Directors would be “why couldn’t you see the writing on the wall a year or two ago and let Yahoo’s spiral go on for so long?” Couldn’t they tell strategy from lack thereof? Evidently not.
In my opinion, none of this should be happening, and I believe there are reasons it got to this point and ways to revitalize a once-great brand.
Yahoo itself should have multiple streams of profitable income, be competitive with Google in its search capacity, have new projects in R&D, some ready to launch, and ultimately should be expanding, not contracting and seeking buyout offers. Yahoo is seen as a disaster of a business by many, yet it is one of the most heavily-trafficked sites on the internet today.
Yahoo is now getting ready to (or already has) dumped thousands of highly-skilled employees on their proverbial fundaments. Selling off assets piecemeal, dumping employees, CEOs who seem “brilliant” and “gifted” yet drive huge corporations into the ground only to escape unscathed - sounds familiar doesn’t it? Was this why Ms. Myer was brought in to begin with? Because in my opinion, innovation and growth surely weren’t there.
I’d take Yahoo’s assets and holdings, repackage them as Yahoo services or products and focus on streamlining processes for greater efficiency. I’d let staff telecommute again, improving morale and creative input. I’d solicit innovation, hold contests, share equity with senior staff.
I’d develop a plan with multiple prongs of development and monitor each stage with a specific team, forming a “band of the hand.” Without detailing specifics (after all, Yahoo isn’t paying me to turn them around, nor would they- and I don’t think personally that was ever on the table), I’d take their most marketable assets, the search feature, the e-mail (that is so slow and outdated), their currently-outdated and unappealing “small business” service and make it competitive with companies such as SquareSpace and Wix, and go down the line like this with each of their divisions and/or offerings. It’s not simple or easy work, but it can be turned around with dedication and strategy to improve their core offerings.
Yahoo holds incredible nostalgic value for most “web heads,” yet does nothing to cultivate that. Yahoo has millions of games, marketing approaches and avenues, e-mail systems, advertising systems, yet doesn’t do enough to take advantage of this incredible core. Cut the waste, stop consuming companies that no one knows what to do with (it’s certainly an illogical way to “compete”), bring back morale, incentives, and rebuild the core offerings one at a time, while slowly adding more usability for the public, developers, and search.
There is no reason Yahoo couldn’t or shouldn’t be in the same arena as SquareSpace, and could easily crush them in service and manpower and integration with other offerings. Yet there’s nothing there (and probably never will be). Yahoo could easily offer website services similar to what WordPress provides, yet doesn’t even approach the field. All of this website development is left unexplored. Why? You employ thousands of brilliant developers, have access to incredible resources and have one of the best known names on Earth.
By focusing on its principal core offerings first, strengthening them, repackaging its buys, encouraging staff to innovate and offering real incentives and care, cutting the unnecessary spends and instead building Yahoo as a corporate “family”of developers, Yahoo could once again be what it was so many years ago.