The big win for Yahoo was My.Yahoo, it was the perfect example of send them away to get them to come back. Any comeback for Yahoo must include revitalizing this service, quickly, because this is yet another area where Google is gaining ground on the sleeping giant. Scott Gatz, the exec who made My.Yahoo what it is, is still at the company.
I’d also suggest decentralizing the company more. Some analyst told them they needed to gain economy and synergy from their acquisitions by centralizing and eliminating duplication, but this makes no sense. Their goal isn’t to economize, the goal is to grow. That’s the only thing that matters.
The problem with Yahoo is too many people for too few opportunities. But, ironically, they need to make the problem worse in order to get back on a growth track. They also need more startups outside Yahoo to view Yahoo as the logcial company to acquire them. The way to do this is to set some standards by unbundling basic services, most important being identity. Yes it’s nerdy, and hard for a Hollywood guy like Semel to understand, but now that the Hollywood guy is gone, maybe Yahoo can start being a technology company instead of the 21st century equivalent of a pet food retailer. That means implementing some big ideas that are rooted in technology not merchandising.
Basically the problem of Yahoo is the problem of Silicon Valley (and that includes Google btw). But it’s not the problem of Apple, which people tend to overlook in their analysis of Silicon Valley (a big mistake, Apple is practically the only Silicon Valley company left).
The business of the valley is not publishing. It is not advertising. It is not retailing. It is not pet food. It is cool packages of technology that thrill people with empowerment and novelty.
So start by giving My.Yahoo some space, and money, and get some new hot features out there ASAP.
And then unbundle some services and offer them to internal users and to developers. It’s not mandatory for the internal users to build on them, but there’s no guarantee that management won’t acquire an external competitor that does a better job of hitching up to the backbone that Yahoo is using.
Google hasn’t been very successful with GData, and there are good reasons for this. They think like an advertising company. Try thinking like a technology company instead, and all of a sudden Yahoo will start growing again.
PS: Invest in open source projects. You can buy love.
PPS: Invest in anything that undermines Google.
PPPS: Merging with Microsoft is death.
PPPPS: Doc pulls the killer quote.
Yesterday I wrote up a Macintosh networking problem. With two ISPs, I wondered how I could use both networks on one LAN. There was a huge outpouring of very high quality information that almost immediately pointed to a class of hardware product that provides a very elegant solution. But I want some more information before deciding how to proceed, because something even simpler might make more sense for what I want to do.
Suppose, for the sake of argument, that I have a Mac OS X server colocated offsite, but I want to be able to use it as a file sharing server from my home. The machine has a fixed IP address. Of course it doesn’t show up as a server under the Network section in the Mac Finder. Now the question. Is there some way to get my desktop Mac at home to connect to the server with just an IP address?
If so, my problem is solved because I have five static IP addresses from one of my ISPs. And if I can just put up a server at a fixed location, that solves the problem.
I gotta admit, I enjoy watching the Cranky Geeks video podcast, mostly because I like the nerdy picture of John Dvorak on the opening screen and the corny polka music that plays in the background. I sometimes even watch the rest of it because Dvorak is such a curmudgeon, and the guests are interesting too. That’s why I agreed to be on two of the shows, one which will be recorded tomorrow and the other on July 25 (Jason Calacanis is the other guest).
They just sent me a list of topics they want to discuss. If you have something to say, please post a comment, esp if they make you cranky in a geekish sort of way. That’ll give me some idea of what people think, and may get my juices flowing. :-)
Last night a message was posted on one of the podcasting support mail lists, observing that an opml.org directory was showing some weird content. It was pretty late, so even though I found the problem right away, I didn’t fix it until this morning.
It wasn’t a hack job as some people thought, and I hadn’t decided to monetize the directory by pointing it to some porn sites, rather it was a dangling pointer left over from a server purge in April, when I was able to turn off four of my six servers, thereby saving a bunch of money every month. The directory had been hosted on one of the machines that I turned off. The ISP reassigned the server to a new customer, who was keeping a directory of porn sites on the machine.
Fixing the problem was simply a matter of redirecting the sub-domain to one of the two remaining servers and telling it to display the OPML file for the directory.
Artima: “Combine the power of Python with the polish of Flash to create a desktop application.”
Rolling Stone: The Record Industry’s Decline.
Amyloo: “We should present each congressperson with the bios and pictures of our dead during the funding cycle, and ask which snuffed-out life they’d like to claim for personal sponsorship.”
Scott Rosenberg: “To this outsider, Semel doesn’t appear to have been the Hollywood idiot some now see.”
Take Back America, a conference of presidential candidates today in Washington, is powered exclusively by Confabb, a company I am an investor in.