Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My friends and supporters are all rallying around me

So I put out an all-points bulletin at the company today asking everyone who supports me to show up for a massive rally this afternoon. Which I thought would be a great PR move and show Carl Icahn and all the other doubters that this company, while we’re certainly facing some challenges, is really rallying together like never before. I had a film crew there and everything. However I think I must have made a mistake and put the wrong date in the Evite. I knew I should have had someone proofread it before I sent it out. I’m just so stressed these days, you have no idea. Gosh.

Not cool, people

So this whole “Jerry is Sergey’s bitch” thing is getting out of hand. Some jackass named Dave just sent me this and says he’s put it up on YouTube. He’s so proud of himself. He even asked me to include a link to his site. Right. As if. Forget about it, Dave. It’s not gonna happen.

Confession: I have a really hard time deciding what to order in restaurants

Problem is I go in there not knowing what I want but figuring I’ll just look at the menu and figure out what sounds good. But then everything sounds good! Or not everything, maybe, but a lot of things.

The other day I was at Il Fornaio in Palo Alto and I was like, Man oh man, there’s just way too many great choices. Do I want the wood-fired pizza? If so which one? Quattro formaggio with herbed rosemary crust? I wasn’t even thinking of pizza but when I look at the way they describe it, well maybe now I do. But then there’s the Fungo Ripieno, with portobello mushrooms serving as a platform for smaller regional mushrooms and fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese. Gosh! Or there’s Costicine d’Agnello, a rack of lamb drizzled with first-cold-pressed virgin olive oil and sprinkled with thyme. Do I want ham-and-fontina stuffed breast of chicken in a Dijon mustard brandy sauce? A veal chop with spinach and parmesan with tarragon bechamel white-truffle oil? Or maybe a hearty soup? Polenta? Risotto? Then there are the appetizers to deal with, and the salads, and desserts and coffees. And wine! My goodness if there’s wine to be decided upon I could be there all night.

I know it drives my wife nuts, but I really, really, really need to talk to the waiter or someone on staff and find out every last thing about every last thing on the menu, including every ingredient and how the dish is cooked and I may even need to visit the kitchen and see how they do it, and then I need some time to think about it, so that I can make sure I choose the right dish. Because I’d hate to make the wrong decision. I guess it’s my engineering background. I’m just a stickler for detail and for information. To me information is like oral sex, you can never have too much. Ha! Get it?! For the record, I don’t really engage in oral sex (hello! hygiene! think what comes out of there!) but you get the idea. I’m a little slow and deliberate, and I tend to mull things over for (Enough. Jesus! Cut it here. Ed.)

What can I say? Sometimes our newsbots make mistakes.

So we ran a story about Obama and used a photo of Osama, and now the media is making a big deal of it. I accept the responsibility for this mistake and I humbly beg forgiveness from those who were wronged by our actions. But at the same time, I don’t think we did anything terribly wrong here. We are at the leading edge of the transformation of the news business, and when you’re the pioneer you sometimes get some arrows in your back. Would anyone really prefer to go back to the old model where you had to hire dozens or hundreds of “editors” and “reporters” and have them manually assembling news pages by manually selecting photos to go with stories? Face it, that’s a lousy and inefficient model, and even if you outsource the labor to India you still can’t get the costs down low enough to accommodate the kind of CPM rates we’re now getting for general purpose news. Sorry, folks, but that’s reality. And CPM rates are only going down from here. So if we’re going to make any kind of profit then the process of gathering and presenting the news is going to have to be automated and democratized, with more of the kind of stories that people actually want to read (Britney’s snatch, Lindsay’s lesbian kiss, video of a dog kissing a cat) and lots of click-generating slide shows (top 10 nude beaches, top 10 wealthiest porn stars). Good news is we’re getting way better at it and we hardly ever put the wrong photo with a story. But again, I humbly apologize to anyone who was offended and I beg your forgiveness. Yahoo regrets the error. Thank you.

Zuckerberg seeks a patent on privacy software

See his patent application here. It’s a great idea. You create software that lets you extract only part of someone’s privacy and share it with advertisers, but you call it “dynamic privacy profiles.” So you sound like the good guy, looking out for the end users, because you really, really, really care about those end users. You really do. It’s totally Orwellian, totally Jeremy Bentham and the Panopticon, and even somewhat reminiscent of some of the work Pattie Maes has done around ambient intelligence and Sherry Turkle’s work on relational artifacts, which I’ve been reading lately and really finding intriguing, especially her application of Lacanian theory to the Internet and social media.

But I digress.

Sad fact is, we had this exact same idea for dynamic privacy at least two years ago, and David Filo said we should get a patent on it and I agreed and so we set up a committee to undertake the review over the course of two quarters and then draft a patent proposal and bring in the lawyers and get the thing taken care of over six or eight quarters … and somehow, somewhere along the line, someone dropped the ball. Now Zuckerberg has stolen our idea (plus ça change) probably after hiring one of our guys who took it with him when he joined Facebook. Rest assured, Yahoo shareholders, that we will learn from this mistake. I’ve asked David to assemble a committee to perform a review of how this happened and then to draw up a proposal for a plan we could implement over the next two or three quarters to avoid making the same mistake again.

At Yahoo we’re making the resignation process easier and more efficient

Subject: resigning
leaving a company can be a real pain in the butt. writing those letters, telling your boss, packing your office. to make this process more streamlined and easier for all involved we’ve created a made-to-order resignation letter with pulldown menus that lets you resign from yahoo with just a few clicks of the mouse.

to use the application go here. thank you for your hard work at yahoo and good luck in your future endeavors.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

I just called a meeting of all my direct reports, and found out I don’t have any

So I had a change of heart about leaving, and I apologize for my outburst earlier today. I’m just really frustrated and really tired. And I keep going back and forth about whether I should leave or stay. But anyway now I’m staying. This morning I jumped on the treadmill and did five miles while listening to Air Supply, which always helps me get my confidence back.

So then I called the meeting, and tried to, but apparently noobody works for me anymore. Seriously. Half of my direct reports have left the company, and their voice mail all says they’re gone and here’s how to reach them. The other half insist that they now report to Sue Decker. I called Sue to find out what this is all about, and got voice mail. Tried again. Same thing. Waited five minutes, tried again. Same thing. “Your call is very important to me,” she says. Sure it is.

Well, I had the meeting anyway. (Photo above.) Gave a talk on China and Globalization, which I think went pretty well. Then I managed to compile a list of action items for the next thirty, sixty and ninety days. We are going to set this Valley on fire, you wait and see.

Fuck it, I’m going to Disneyland

The mass exodus of talent, the relentless shareholders, the increasingly nasty letters from Carl Icahn, the slaps from Sue Decker, the nasty voice mails from Ballmer, the endless meetings with lawyers — I give up. Okay? I give up. It’s 7:30 in the morning on Sunday and they’ve been working me over with the Gitmo treatment, not letting me sleep for more than an hour at a time, waking me up and asking me the same questions over and over and over again. Honestly by 4 a.m. this morning, sitting there with two lawyers with their horrible coffee breath, I began to kind of hallucinate and thought they were interrogators. And honestly right then I would have signed anything, confessed to anything.

So you know what? You win. I give up. I’ll leave. Okay? You happy now? I’m going. And I’m not coming back. I’m sure it’s been nice to have a whipping boy, a scapegoat, but you know what? I’m sick of it. You won’t have Jerry Yang to kick around anymore. Because I’m getting out of the dunk tank. You can pick on someone else. Seriously, fuck all of you. I’m going to Disneyland.

Not sure when we’ll announce it or how to do it. We’ll take a little while to think over how we should do it. But I’m not even joking. I’m gone, assholes.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sour grapes from baldy

So Ballmer is just losing his marbles since we outfoxed him and made our cunning deal with Google. And it’s starting to show. Check out this crazy piece in the FT where Ballmer goes on his same old rant about how Google isn’t anything special. The Journal riffs on it here.

Money quote: “They have one product that makes all their money, and it hasn’t changed in five years.”

Unlike Microsoft, which has done such a great job over the same time period.

Second money quote: “We have only one way to go, and it’s up, baby, up, up, up, up, up!”

I swear to God this is exactly the way Monkey Boy talked when we were meeting with him. Sue and Roy and I would leave and ask each other, What drugs exactly is that guy on?

Even more hilarious is the top of the Q&A where the reporter asks Ballmer what it’s going to be like now that Gates is stepping down. Um, reporter person? Gates checked out at least three years ago. It’s also worth checking out the way Ballmer stumbles his way through a question about his stock being in the crapper for the past eight years. Actually the whole thing is a hoot and worth checking out.

The lawyers are driving me nuts

It’s 6 on a Friday and I’m still here and there are still more meetings planned. Lawyers. Goddamn them. We’ve got so many shareholder suits going that I’ve lost count. And Ballmer keeps calling and leaving these creepy messages in my voice mail, where he puts on this raspy voice and goes, “Jeeeeerrrrry …. are you still there? Are you? Jeeeeeerrrrrry….”

And now that dirtbag Henry Blodget is piling on, suggesting here that Sue Decker is taking over the company and that if we don’t toss out a bunch of people right away, yours truly included, then “Yahoo will disintegrate.”

Well, at least I haven’t been barred for life from the securities industry. But I’ll give you this, Big Red. A lesser man would have been chastened by that experience and gone off to some remote place and done missionary work and tried to earn back his good name by doing some kind of penance. Not you. Nope. You’re right back in the ring, scolding CEOs and telling people how they should be running their companies. Dick.