Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Have Yourself a Jerry Little Christmas Now?

grinch-who

Could Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark “Cindy Lou Who” Zuckerberg teach Yahoo Co-Founder and CEO Jerry “Grinch” Yang a thing or two about holiday cheer?

You can bet your roast beast he could.

BoomTown has been, we admit it, quite tough on both Zuckerberg and Facebook since we launched the site–about everything from its still unproven business prospects to its toddler widgets to its insane valuation to its legal harassment of a magazine to its stalkerish Beacon ad product.

But Zuckerberg and his team, including its tireless and doubtlessly tired PR head Brandee Barker, have consistently responded to BoomTown’s prodding and posts without rancor and not too much disgruntlement.

(Except when Zuckerberg once told me I was too mean to him, but we’ll let that one pass, because we kind of are on the age issue, at least.)

While we can’t commend Facebook’s reaction to the Beacon controversy (too slow and too reactive and too little), given the level of leakiness around it, the hot social-networking company has handled its external relations with a level of maturity that is laudable, especially with the massive pressure involved in being the Web company of the moment.

Proof of that below. And Zuckerberg only looks 15% uncomfortable to be standing next to me–looking drunk, though I don’t drink, and oddly shiny–at a holiday party recently (picture credit goes to Facebook VP Owen Van Natta’s lovely wife, Jennifer).

zuck-swisher

I had a great time debating issues with Zuckerberg at that party, and he seems game to continue that healthy back-and-forth in the future.

Contrast that to the ever-grinchy folks over at Yahoo, which I have also been pretty hard on, although I think I have also been fair given the state of turbulence at the Internet giant.

While I have consistently asked for interviews with most of its top execs, including Yang and President Sue Decker, only a very few–and I thank them for that, I really do–have been brave enough to talk openly about the many challenges that Yahoo faces.

Thank goodness, then, that Yahoo is the leakiest ship of all in the tech sector these days, providing BoomTown and others with a number of great scoops over the year.

Perhaps the 100-Day Sacred Cow VisionQuest Countdown was annoying, but it was Yang who set the stakes and then did not exactly deliver the goods.

Perhaps Yahoo cringes at reports of the many departures of execs–some leaving, others pushed.

Perhaps it does not like the speculation on its lack of bold moves or the prospects of a takeover or worries about its declining share of the search market.

And perhaps Yang was irked by all my brilliant videos, including shamelessly using my own children, to raise money for a good cause, all while haranguing him for one simple lunch! (In that case, though, that would mean he had somehow completely lost his sense of humor.)

But, as I have written time and again, Yahoo has amazing traffic, brand, engagement and products, and I look forward to seeing it reinvigorate itself–which is always a great story.

It would be nice then to be able to talk to Yang and others on the record about its epic struggle to right itself.

Thus, with a little help from Photoshopping fiend Adam Tow, here’s my wish for blog peace and good will in 2008.

(Or, more aptly–Fah who for-aze! Dah who dor-aze! Welcome Christmas! Come this way!):

yang-swisher


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald