So, I’m probably breaking a ton of rules by doing this. But, f@$k it! Here is the transcript, verbatim (I rewound the webcast several times just to get it right), of Terry’s closing comments at today’s re-org all-hands:
So, we could read about how I’m gonna join some retirement home. And we could read about how the company doesn’t have a vision. And we could read about how we can’t do this and we can’t do that. Trust me, they will be as full of shit this time as they were last time.”
To hell with what Valleywag, TechCrunch, or WSJ say. It’s easy to sit back and Monday-morning-quarterback the leadership of a multi-billion dollar international company in the fastest moving and most competitive market that has likely *ever* existed. Today was one of the most exciting days in my two and a half years at Yahoo!, and I know a lot of people who feel the same.
As someone who has witnessed many of Yahoo!’s dysfunctions first-hand, I am frankly surprised at how right on they got it with this re-org. The changes that were announced this week and the ones that will come over the next few months are pretty much exactly what I think needs to be done to enable Yahoo! to realize its full potential. What seems to have been lost in the media’s Yahoo!-bashing dogpile is the fact that we are still the dominant player on most of the web. Yes, we’re #2 in search and Google is currently monetizing much more effectively than we are. But, they keep trying to get into our core businesses with very little success. Why if Google is so awesome, are they trying to do all the things that pokey old Yahoo! does? Hrmmm…must mean we actually do have some valuable assets. While we have a lot of improvements to make in certain areas, I firmly believe that Yahoo! still has the opportunity to approach our market from a position of strength. And I think this re-org is a *huge* step in that direction.
As for the Terry-bashing, you are all idiots. It seems like the tech world is getting its hubris back in bubble 2.0 and pundits are dying (again) to prove that an outsider can’t possibly have what it takes to succeed on the Internet. Schadenfreud is very easy to spot, and it is ugly. I hate to break it to all of you, but the Internet isn’t about technology. Cisco is a technology company, Yahoo! is a consumer services company — the fact that those services are delivered via IP is just a detail. The people who fault Terry for not knowing how IP switching works might as well have criticized Ted Turner for not knowing how to install a cable head-end. Technology savvy can be hired (and I won’t defend Yahoo!’s track record on that), but true leadership is something more.
What our company needs right now from a leader is resilience, defiance, and strength. And I couldn’t think of anyone better than Mr. Semel to provide that. All those idiots speculating on Terry’s departure (which has been talked about since he got here), have no understanding of the man. Do you think that after WB he ever had to work another day in his life? Let alone 70 hour weeks (I know when he leaves, and it is frequently after my 7:30pm shuttle)? Think about the kind of man who takes one of the most sterling records in recent executive management history and steps into a turnaround role at a company and in an industry with no certainty for the future. He may not be as bellicose as some other CEOs in tech. But, Terry is not the one to run from a fight — he runs to them. Right now we don’t need a leader who invented some cool technology when he was 25, we need the guy who spent 25 years climbing the corporate ladder all the way from the bottom to become arguably the most respected leader in one of the most cut-throat businesses in the world.
Keep on keepin’ on Terry, we’re right behind you.