John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Welcome to Jerry Yang's Sacred Cow Steakhouse. May I Take Your Order?


We need to invest in areas that are most critical to our success and de-emphasize those that are underperforming or don’t match up with our priorities. There will be no sacred cows.”

Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang, July 17

Jerry Yang’s abattoir slaughtered enough scared cows in Yahoo’s latest quarter to treat investors to a nice steak dinner. The Internet giant surprised Wall Street yesterday, reporting a 12% rise in revenue and an acceleration of growth in its third quarter, Yang’s first full one as chief executive. Net income fell 5%, to $151.3 million from $158.5 million in the same period a year earlier. Not great. But not bad either. “Wall Street’s expectations were so low that a slight improvement from that looks pretty good,” said analyst Jeffrey Lindsay, who is apparently raising his rating on Yahoo to “Eh” from “Pitiful.”

During a conference call to discuss earnings, Yang offered an update on his promised 100-day strategic review of Yahoo’s business. But sadly, it was about as inspired as Yahoo’s earnings. No grand strategic business shifts to speak of here. Just a bunch of blather that, frankly, reads like some boilerplate HR goal-setting document.

Over the past hundred days, we have thoroughly reviewed key aspects of the rapidly changing Internet marketplace, our company, our strategy and our culture to identify what we need to do to accelerate Yahoo!’s growth and create long-term value for our shareholders.

“As a result, we have made important decisions about our future. We have defined a vision of where we want to go. We have developed a set of objectives and strategies that we will follow and devised a rigorous framework that we will use to prioritize and make future choices.

“… The goal is to turn Yahoo into a company that powers and delights all of its communities by creating indispensable experiences. … The Yahoo we envision today is very different from the Yahoo of a year ago.”

The Yahoo we envision today is very different from the Yahoo of a year ago.

… OK. But so is the Yahoo envisioned by Google (dead and buried), which tomorrow is expected to post results showing it is growing nearly five times faster than Yahoo. How does Yang plan to compete with that?

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik