Can Carol Bartz pull Yahoo out of its funk?

I read over on Kara Swisher’s blog that Carol Bartz, former CEO of Autodesk, is taking over as Yahoo’s CEO.

Well, this is an improvement because at least Carol can spell technology, unlike other previous Yahoo CEOs.

But, can she pull Yahoo out of its funk?

First, remember that Yahoo is still one of the biggest web sites out there. Yes, its PR is terrible. Yes, it has lost many, if not most, of its smartest people. Yes, Google has just out played it in nearly every way. Yes, Microsoft cut off one of its legs. Yes no one I know is excited about Yahoo anymore. My early-adopter friends are even blase about Flickr now.

But Yahoo still has hundreds of millions of people who visit its home page, use its search, use its email, or use its instant messaging service.

Carol’s job #1 is to focus on those. She better — in her first month — find all 14 smart people still left at Yahoo and bring them together to reinvigorate those services, integrate them together, and start work on a live-web service that will look something like Facebook or friendfeed. Do that and Yahoo might live to see another day.

Of course that means pissing off tech bloggers like me who want new features in “the sexy services” at Yahoo like Upcoming.org, flickr, etc.

But Yahoo is in a good position — if it builds a decent news feed like what friendfeed and facebook have and does it quickly. That is the key to integrating all of its services together (and giving its sexy services like Flickr and Upcoming.org a shot).

Demonstrate that Yahoo has a clue about the “live web” and it has a shot. Google hasn’t demonstrated it understands that yet. In fact, Google has been really demonstrating deep cluelessness with how it is handling Feedburner. Microsoft hasn’t demonstrated it yet. They are still bragging to themselves that they could build a Twitter clone in a week in Silverlight and Microsoft Mesh.

Carol has one shot to pull up on the stick at Yahoo. One engine is still sputtering in that plane and it just might pull out of its dive. Here’s hoping that Carol finds those smart people and does something fast.

Comments

  1. “and start work on a live-web service that will look something like Facebook or friendfeed. Do that and Yahoo might live to see another day.”

    Do those hundreds of millions of people really care about that? I don’t think catering to the Scobles out there by copying Facebook and Friendfeed is the answer.

  2. “and start work on a live-web service that will look something like Facebook or friendfeed. Do that and Yahoo might live to see another day.”

    Do those hundreds of millions of people really care about that? I don’t think catering to the Scobles out there by copying Facebook and Friendfeed is the answer.

  3. “and start work on a live-web service that will look something like Facebook or friendfeed. Do that and Yahoo might live to see another day.”

    Do those hundreds of millions of people really care about that? I don’t think catering to the Scobles out there by copying Facebook and Friendfeed is the answer.

  4. Blaze’ about Flickr? Ouch.

    I love Flickr six times as much as when I joined in what, 2004? I LOVE their incorporation of 90 second videos. It changed the way I film things. I often take 90 second videos–just of life–just for memories. In fact, it’s to the point that I barely videoblog anymore–I just pop an unedited, 90-second snippet on Flickr.

    Sorry, I know this is off on a tangent, Steve Garfield reference not implied…
    ;)

  5. Blaze’ about Flickr? Ouch.

    I love Flickr six times as much as when I joined in what, 2004? I LOVE their incorporation of 90 second videos. It changed the way I film things. I often take 90 second videos–just of life–just for memories. In fact, it’s to the point that I barely videoblog anymore–I just pop an unedited, 90-second snippet on Flickr.

    Sorry, I know this is off on a tangent, Steve Garfield reference not implied…
    ;)

  6. Blaze’ about Flickr? Ouch.

    I love Flickr six times as much as when I joined in what, 2004? I LOVE their incorporation of 90 second videos. It changed the way I film things. I often take 90 second videos–just of life–just for memories. In fact, it’s to the point that I barely videoblog anymore–I just pop an unedited, 90-second snippet on Flickr.

    Sorry, I know this is off on a tangent, Steve Garfield reference not implied…
    ;)

  7. Oh my, any talk about Yahoo and I seriously worry that they will screw up the very best site on the internet, and that is Flickr.

    Scary stuff. Please Yahoo, don’t screw up Flickr!

  8. Oh my, any talk about Yahoo and I seriously worry that they will screw up the very best site on the internet, and that is Flickr.

    Scary stuff. Please Yahoo, don’t screw up Flickr!

  9. Oh my, any talk about Yahoo and I seriously worry that they will screw up the very best site on the internet, and that is Flickr.

    Scary stuff. Please Yahoo, don’t screw up Flickr!

  10. Just FYI, she hasn’t called me yet. (I’m assuming I’m one of the smart people left; please don’t correct me if I’m wrong.)

  11. Just FYI, she hasn’t called me yet. (I’m assuming I’m one of the smart people left; please don’t correct me if I’m wrong.)

  12. Just FYI, she hasn’t called me yet. (I’m assuming I’m one of the smart people left; please don’t correct me if I’m wrong.)

  13. As an ad agency media buyer, I’d like to see Yahoo with a competent sales force. Seriously, I would settle for being able to:

    1) actually BUY ADVERTISING on there. Outside of search, it’s difficult to plan & buy an ad campaign on Yahoo
    2) get campaigns to launch on time so I don’t have to pull & reassign budget

    Yahoo would probably actually MAKE money if they bothered to train & hire people who could understand a campaign’s goals and help agencies to better allocate the spend.

    Finally, I’d happily send them bags of money on behalf of clients if they could tie in Yahoo advertising with other Yahoo products – like integrating a client’s Flickr feed into that client’s banner ads. That would be GENIUS.

  14. As an ad agency media buyer, I’d like to see Yahoo with a competent sales force. Seriously, I would settle for being able to:

    1) actually BUY ADVERTISING on there. Outside of search, it’s difficult to plan & buy an ad campaign on Yahoo
    2) get campaigns to launch on time so I don’t have to pull & reassign budget

    Yahoo would probably actually MAKE money if they bothered to train & hire people who could understand a campaign’s goals and help agencies to better allocate the spend.

    Finally, I’d happily send them bags of money on behalf of clients if they could tie in Yahoo advertising with other Yahoo products – like integrating a client’s Flickr feed into that client’s banner ads. That would be GENIUS.

  15. As an ad agency media buyer, I’d like to see Yahoo with a competent sales force. Seriously, I would settle for being able to:

    1) actually BUY ADVERTISING on there. Outside of search, it’s difficult to plan & buy an ad campaign on Yahoo
    2) get campaigns to launch on time so I don’t have to pull & reassign budget

    Yahoo would probably actually MAKE money if they bothered to train & hire people who could understand a campaign’s goals and help agencies to better allocate the spend.

    Finally, I’d happily send them bags of money on behalf of clients if they could tie in Yahoo advertising with other Yahoo products – like integrating a client’s Flickr feed into that client’s banner ads. That would be GENIUS.

  16. @Jillian – I’ve found their display and search ad sales staff to be fantastic! They’re professional, they listen, they share best practices, they’re willing to get creative with you, they actually call you back! That holds as true today as it did when we were buying display ads (run of site and certain focused verticals in the directory) when I managed Thrifty.com. I have my own gig now and they were one of the first (maybe THE first) I called.

    If you need a phone number for a point of contact gimme a shout back here in the comments or @geraldbuckley on Twitter.

  17. @Jillian – I’ve found their display and search ad sales staff to be fantastic! They’re professional, they listen, they share best practices, they’re willing to get creative with you, they actually call you back! That holds as true today as it did when we were buying display ads (run of site and certain focused verticals in the directory) when I managed Thrifty.com. I have my own gig now and they were one of the first (maybe THE first) I called.

    If you need a phone number for a point of contact gimme a shout back here in the comments or @geraldbuckley on Twitter.

  18. Yahoo has some amazing assets. I think that they should just spend more time on integrating them and making them easier to use together. They can start by taking flickr, email and AIM and replicate a lot of the things facebook has done around photo sharing, communication and social interaction.

    Note: I am not sure that we need yet another buzzword like “liveweb”. People are just getting a grab of “social networking”.

  19. Yahoo has some amazing assets. I think that they should just spend more time on integrating them and making them easier to use together. They can start by taking flickr, email and AIM and replicate a lot of the things facebook has done around photo sharing, communication and social interaction.

    Note: I am not sure that we need yet another buzzword like “liveweb”. People are just getting a grab of “social networking”.

  20. Yahoo has some amazing assets. I think that they should just spend more time on integrating them and making them easier to use together. They can start by taking flickr, email and AIM and replicate a lot of the things facebook has done around photo sharing, communication and social interaction.

    Note: I am not sure that we need yet another buzzword like “liveweb”. People are just getting a grab of “social networking”.

  21. The best thing she can do at Yahoo is the same thing she did in the early years at Adsk. Replace the founder and the founder’s enablers with sharp, professional managers.

  22. The best thing she can do at Yahoo is the same thing she did in the early years at Adsk. Replace the founder and the founder’s enablers with sharp, professional managers.

  23. The best thing she can do at Yahoo is the same thing she did in the early years at Adsk. Replace the founder and the founder’s enablers with sharp, professional managers.