One summer I earned money by knocking on the front doors of houses with concrete curbs. I would ask whoever answered if they would like their house number painted on their bare curb, "so your house will be more easily spotted in case of any emergencies." Those who said yes paid me after approving my work. Now imagine if I were paid directly by a company like Target who, in return, received information about the shopping habits of residents living in the homes whose curbs were painted. Imagine further that local police departments allowed me to paint these curbs without …
The problem at Yahoo was not Bartz, but the Yahoo board of directors. Remember that Bartz was hired to pacify angry shareholders, furious that Yahoo's board was delusional enough to turn down a $47.5 billion acquisition offer from Microsoft. Two years later, Yahoo trades at a third of that price. The company lost $30 billion because Yahoo's board failed to recognize what type of company they are running. Despite its sprawling Silicon Valley campus, and loads of talented engineers, Yahoo is not, and never was, a technology company.
>Carol Bartz lost her job recently as a consequence of failing to get Yahoo's advertising revenue growing. How did Yahoo, with all its hundreds of millions of users and billions of page views to sell to advertisers, fail to grow in the last year? Simple. It lost the positioning battle, the struggle for a positive place in the minds of advertising buyers, where the bulk of Yahoo's revenue is derived. Without a positioning that captures the imagination of the market, Yahoo ad revenue flat-lined while it grew for others.
Question from a seller: I keep hearing that the market is heating up, and I'm starting to get calls for interviews. What is weird is that companies are questioning why I have been a seller for so many different companies in the past years. Isn't it expected in the Internet business that people jump around? How can I position myself as the best candidate in light of these questions?
Question from a media seller: In an industry where your reputation means everything, how can you abate the damage that someone else is inflicting on your personal brand via gossip and comments to others? When working closely with a "mean girl," how do you circumvent (i.e., avoid) the punitive nature of this person?
With respect and attribution of this column's title to Peter King of Sports Illustrated, here are ten things I think I know.