Jeff Weiner Speaks
I had a pleasant outdoor lunch with Yahoo Network division chief Jeff Weiner yesterday in Santa Clara.
That he would have lunch with me and allow me to make a little video interview with him in the midst of all the management turmoil at the company is why I like dealing with the ever-sassy Weiner, who actually seems to enjoy debating a range of Internet issues.
That he was only half-joking when he suggested we play hooky and go see Michael Moore’s new documentary about the U.S. health-care system called “Sicko,” instead of talking about Yahoo, made me like him 15% more.
I have written quite a bit about Weiner: Here about his not taking the big Audience job at Yahoo back in the late spring (and which now does not exist); and here on whether he would leave with departing CEO Terry Semel, with whom Weiner arrived many years ago.
Many speculate that now that the Panama effort to overhaul Yahoo’s lagging search ad-sales system is done (and which Weiner helmed with a large team at Yahoo), and it looks as if it will improve results, he might move along on a high note.
But among the key Semel hires, Weiner is perhaps the best liked within Yahoo, and I doubt he’d do that, given how interesting his job actually is.
Still, Weiner, for one, seemed up for the challenge, as you will see here:
His purview includes the “consumer-facing” products like communications (email, IM), community (Groups, 360, Flickr, Bix), media (news and information and entertainment), search (Web, Answers, Delicious) and the front door of the whole place.
Not surprisingly, Weiner had a lot of insights on the state of the Web and talked here about changes to Yahoo’s successful Flickr photo service.
He also talks about the re-opening of the highly trafficked front page of the Internet portal to third-party publishers, as Yahoo used to do more often in its early days before mostly pointing internally.
The move has caused some rancor inside Yahoo, but it is the right one to take as the company tries to focus on its key strengths.
It needs to, as it faces pressure from a range of competitors from Google in search to MySpace and Facebook in social networking to YouTube in online video to a plethora of upstarts messing around in every arena.