Yahoo 2015: A Xoogler in the Drink, Calls in the MBAs for a Rescue

November 10, 2015

Years ago, when Google was a foundling, the myth of the brilliance of the Googler was fresh, new. Xooglers have had a good run. Work at the 24×7, wild and wonderful outfit for a few years. Then cash in and become an investment banker, an entrepreneur, or a senior manager.

Yahoo did the Xoogler thing. There was chatter years ago that the Yahoo was going to be a big deal in the exciting Internet world with mobile, smart software, semantics, apps, and original content.

How is that working out?

I read “Yahoo Hires McKinsey to Mull Reorg, as Mayer Demands Exec Pledge to Stay” to find out. Interesting analysis from a person in a good position to observe and gather information. Among the tidbits I jotted down were:

  • The new swing for the fences initiative is Project Index. Index? That’s an exciting concept.
  • Yahoo does not want to lose key staff. Who does?
  • The top Xoogler hired the bluest of the blue chip consulting firms to help put some revenues on the books.

Okay, another big plan. Just like those at Google except and this is a classic “but for” construction—ad revenue. Google has it. Yahoo has less. A home run is unlikely to win the game in which Yahoo finds itself.

Losing staff? The fix is not to lock a professional down in my opinion. Working with a company is a choice. When folks decide not to work with an outfit, no contract will fix the free agent mentality of certain folks. The effort may cause people to bail out.

And the McKinsey thing? Blue chip consulting is a darned exciting type of work. Who is the client? The Xoogler? The Board of Directors? The stakeholders? Consider the answer, gentle reader. Blue chip consulting firms may not have all the answers, but the blue chip firms know how to set their agenda and then follow up.

What will McKinsey do? Preserve McKinsey. Yahoo may be in for some surprises because not even the smartest Xooglers in the world see opportunity quite the same way blue chip consulting firms do.

McKinsey did not hire Yahoo. Yahoo allegedly hired McKinsey. Who has the power now?

Stephen E Arnold, November 10, 2015


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